Pharmacy shots could cut costs for Hoosiers

Eileen Cassidy visited Walgreens for a flu shot.
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You and your family may soon be able to get immunization shots for a lot cheaper than what you are paying now.

Indiana lawmakers may allow pharmacies to administer more vaccines, like tetanus shots and pneumonia shots.

It was a typical day at the Walgreens store at 86th and Michigan on the Indianapolis north side.

Eileen Cassidy decided to stop by the store. She has seen a lot of changes in health care in her 80 years.

Her pharmacist shuts the door of a small office as she asks her a question.

"Have you had a flu shot before?"


"Any problems?"


Going to a local pharmacist for a flu shot is one of the biggest changes Cassidy has seen. Surprisingly, she is comfortable with it.

"It's convenient. You don't always want to traipse to the doctor's office and you can stop in at Walgreens," she said.

And that is what she is doing. At present, Indiana pharmacists can give shots for shingles and the flu for customers over the age of 14. But exceptions have been made in cases of emergency like the H1N1 scare, when it was lowered to customers age six and up.

Pharmacist Cathy Simmons explains how Walgreens was able to assist at that time.

"The biggest day we had was Saturday and Sunday in early January when doctors offices are not open, so the fact that we were able to serve the community really helped," she said.

Cost is another big issue. Getting a shot from the doctor can run up to $80. Compare that to $25 at your local pharmacy and you can get in and out a lot faster.

Now the Indiana legislature is considering letting pharmacists administer even more shots. Rep. Steve Davisson, a Republican from Salem, Indiana authored the bill that is currently being debated at the Indiana Statehouse. He says the Affordable Care Act will make this possibility a necessity.

"We have a shortage of physicians in the state the way it is, so it's important we try to make sure health care is spread across as many health care professionals as can handle it," said Davisson.

Cathy Simmons agrees.

"We do shots overnight. For workers who can't find time after hours and the doctor's office is closed. It's ten at night and they got the kids to bed so they come out and get their own shot," she said.

And Simmons says she has administered 1,500 shots this year alone. Afterwards they immediately report the shots to your physician for their records. So as Eileen Cassidy gets up to leave after receiving her flu shot, she knows her doctor will be kept up to date.

Pharmacists say this service is even more important in the rural areas of the state where proximity is also an important factor.

Use these links to find a pharmacy that offers flu shots.

Flu shot map - Allows you to put in your zip code and then offers you a list of locations in your area that have the flu shot.

CVS flu shot info - Allows you to find a location and schedule an appointment. Or call 866-389-2727.

Walgreens flu shot info - Find a location and schedule an appointment.

You can also contact your county's health department to find a flu shot in your county.

Boone County Health Department 765-482-3942
Hamilton County Health Department 317-776-8500
Hancock County Health Department 317-477-1125
Hendricks County Health Department 317-745-9217
Johnson County Health Department 317-736-3770
Madison County Health Department 765-641-9523
Marion County Health Department 317-221-2222
Morgan County Health Department 765-342-6621
Shelby County Health Department 317-392-6470