With the first cases of influenza being reported this week, health officials are asking the public to get flu shots. However, shoppers in Missoula will find wildly varying prices depending on where they shop.

One shopper in Missoula, who wished to be called "Sue," found the range of prices to be quite wide.

"I found that there's a huge difference in flu shot prices all over town," Sue said. "If you just go in and get a flu shot and don't do your research, you could pay a whole lot more. The cheapest price I found was at Costco. It's $14.99, but if you go to CVS Pharmacy it's close to $40. If you go to the City-County Health Department it's $25 , I think, and if you go to CostCare, it's $25 dollars for 17 and under and $20 for 18 and over.

The Montana Department of Health and Human Services said that, although DPHHS promotes the flu vaccine, it only purchases a very small amount of the supply. That means the prices are up to the private market.

Montana DPHHS spokesman Jon Ebelt said that in Helena, state employees were able to receive free flu shots at a local Safeway and that even the prices at county health departments will vary from county to county.