Photo by peapodsquadmom
The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has set up www.Flu.Gov, and in partnership with Google, the CDC and state and local health departments, they’ve included a flu shot locator map along with their website’s search function to list locations and resources by state. You can even check out Homeland Security’s National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza, a document dated 2005 with an introduction by our previous president. The fun never ends.
Feel like getting really paranoid? Check out the “Health Map” and you will probably discover that H1N1 is “widespread” in your state, but look a little closer and you’ll see that you can click “State Resources” in the upper left corner of your screen. Click your state to find resources for where you can get the traditional and the H1N1 vaccine, and where you can find out how to volunteer to distribute the vaccine yourself.
Some locations are only offering the vaccine to the very old, the very young, pregnant women and those with a compromised immune system. Make sure to call in advance to check availability before you waste time as information from these resources is subject to change.
Perhaps the day has come when big government can help by aggregating information with small government for the greater good of all. I’m not holding my breath, though. A quick search in my home state (Kentucky) reveals two error messages, both on the H1N1 links.
In the meantime, while you may be waiting for your chance to get a flu shot (or both of them as is recommended this year), follow the advice of the Staple Singers and “put your hand on your mouth when you cough,” make sure to wash up afterwards, and stay home when you’re sick.
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Editor-at-large, Kate Sedgwick, works from Buenos Aires where she organizes her live storytelling project, Second Story Buenos Aires. Read more about her than you might want to know at her blog YesThereIsSuchAThingAsAStupidQuestion.com, and follow her infrequent tweets @KateSedgwick.