Google Adds Flu Shot Finder to Google Maps
Ladies and gentlemen: it's flu season. Wait a minute... Didn't we already have that? No, that was the darn swine flu.
It's one thing to point out where people are getting sick, but it's another to tell them how they can prevent it with details on where to get the vaccines. After all, supplies ebb and flow. Why not rely on Google for where to get your shots?
Check out the site www.google.com/flushot. Clicking on it will redirect you to this Google Map of the locations where vaccinations are being offered.
The site actually tracks seasonal flu shots and H1N1 (swine flu) virus shots. Both are in scarce supply. Enter your location in the box.
Here is where I could go to get H1N1 and flu shots in my home state. Flu shot indicators are red needles, H1N1 indicators are blue needles. Some shops offer both. Click on the needles to see the name of the service provider, address, phone number and other info.
Google is adding results from drugstore chains such as Walgreens, CVS and PDX participants, such as Kmart, Duane Reade, WinnDixie and Giant Eagle.
Google currently only has data for locations of flu vaccine from 20 states. Google Health Product Manager and resident M.D. Roni Zeiger offered these caveats:
It's important to note that this project is just beginning and we have not yet received information about flu shot clinics for many locations. In addition, many locations that are shown are currently out of stock. We launched this service now in order to help disseminate information about locations where vaccines are available, and also to make more vaccine providers aware of the project so that they can contribute.
So, while this flu shot finder can be helpful if they cover your state, if you don't see your state tracking the availability on this site, you should still call flu vaccine providers to find out what they've got for you.
But Danny Sullivan's right: this flu shot finder needs availability of the vaccines. Otherwise, we might as well save ourselves the time and just call the drugstores and doctors.