More articles Share The flu shot is a costlier and more complicated procedure than most other flu shots, according to a new study from Johns Hopkins University.
The researchers, who reviewed data from more than 60,000 flu shots given to adults, found the cost to consumers for a flu shot at least tripled between 2011 and 2016.
The cost to the government is about $1.80 per day for adults and $2.40 per day if they receive Medicare, according the study published online in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
“Flu vaccines provide a relatively inexpensive, easily accessible way to prevent flu and to prevent complications in a timely fashion,” the researchers wrote.
“However, this cost increase is likely due to a number of factors, including the increased difficulty of obtaining vaccine coverage, the high price of administering and storing vaccine doses, and the potential for adverse events that may arise after vaccination.”
In the study, the researchers looked at the cost of each flu shot administered in the U.S. over three years.
Each shot is associated with a cost of about $100 for adults who receive a booster dose and $200 for children who receive the regular dose.
The study did not look at whether the increased cost to health care providers is related to higher costs for patients or the cost for the vaccine itself.
The findings are likely to have an impact on how doctors prescribe the flu shot, said the lead author of the study Michael G. Fink, MD, an assistant professor of preventive medicine at Johns Hopkins.
“Doctors are likely more likely to prescribe the vaccine if it is relatively inexpensive to administer, or if it offers a good protection against other viruses,” he said.
The new study is the first to look at the costs of administering flu vaccines to adults.
It also is the second to look specifically at the flu vaccine cost for children.
The Johns Hopkins study also focused on the costs for treating patients who received a booster shot, and it found that the cost per flu vaccine shot increased by $200 per year in adults and nearly $600 per year for children, although the increase was not statistically significant.
The increase in the cost was partly driven by the introduction of a second dose of the flu vaccination in the fall of 2018.
The price of the booster shot was $1,800 for adults, $2,400 for children and $3,600 for both adults and children if they received the regular vaccine.