(cross-posted from the Official Google Blog)
This year, it's especially important to have clear information on what you can do to prepare for the flu season. With this in mind, we are happy to share a new feature for the U.S. which allows you to more easily find locations near you for getting both the seasonal and H1N1 flu vaccine. After expanding Google Flu Trends to a total of 20 countries and 38 languages, allowing more people to see near real-time estimates of flu activity, we began brainstorming with the U.S. Department for Health and Human Services (HHS), their flu.gov collaborators and the American Lung Association on the flu shot finder and other ways Google can be helpful to people this flu season.
You can check out the flu shot finder at www.google.com/flushot. The same tool will also be available shortly on www.flu.gov and the American Lung Association websites. 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.
Especially given slower than expected vaccine production, we think it's important to bring together flu shot information in a coherent manner. We've been working with HHS, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local health agencies to gather information on flu vaccine locations across the country, particularly for the H1N1 flu vaccine (both the nasal-spray vaccine and the shot). At the moment we have data for locations of flu vaccine directly from 20 states and counting. We are also continuing to add information from chain pharmacies and other providers in all 50 states; today, you'll find results from chains such as Walgreens, CVS and PDX participants, such as Kmart, Duane Reade, WinnDixie and Giant Eagle.
Of course you should still call flu vaccine providers ahead of time to find out more about availability and eligibility for the two vaccines.
We hope to continue providing you with relevant information to help keep you and your loved ones healthy.