How to Bypass the Doctor for Back-to-School Check-Ups

NEW YORK (MainStreet)  — Heading back to school typically entails more than just shopping for pens, paper and glue. Many school systems often require that each student receive mandatory immunizations and regular physicals.

Fortunately, there are several places parents can go to bypass a long wait at their child’s doctor’s office when it comes to certain health care requirements. MainStreet rounded up a few other options.

CVS Minute Clinics

Minute Clinics, walk-in medical clinics located in CVS pharmacies, are currently offering adolescent vaccinations and sports physicals seven days a week in all of its 600 locations nationwide. Appointments are not necessary.

The clinics can provide vaccines for pertussis (whooping cough), meningitis (which is required for both secondary school and college in many states) and the Human Papillomavirus, among others.

Physicals are available for high school and college students who need pre-participation exams often required by many states, and school systems before a student participates in school sports. They include a full review of a patient’s medical history, an evaluation of vital signs and reflexes and an overall assessment of physical condition to make sure the child is not at risk for illness or injury.

The sports and college physicals, not typically covered by insurance, will cost $39 through Sept. 30. CVS advises parents to check with their insurance provider to see what vaccinations are covered under their health care plan and what their co-pay may be.


Walgreens Take Care Clinics offer more than 20 immunizations recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at select locations throughout the country. Flu shots, recommended by the CDC for all people 6 months or older, can be obtained nationwide, while whooping cough shots are available at locations in 42 states. Certain locations also offer pneumococcal (pneuomonia) and meningitis immunizations.  Age restrictions vary by state so contact your local Walgreens to find out more about their specific offerings. 

The Take Care Clinics also offer sports physicals daily for $25 without an appointment. The clinics are open seven days a week. You can check the website to find more information about wait times and hours of operation of a clinic near you.

Duane Reade

Duane Reade also has a doctor on the premises in most of its pharmacies (in the New York area only) that can administer certain vaccinations, including flu shots, and also provide consultations.  No appointment is necessary and prices vary, depending on your health care provider. You can find a Duane Reade near you on the pharmacy’s website to learn more about its specific offerings and hours of operation.

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