Chuck and I got our H1N1 influenza shots today. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which had been restricting the H1N1 vaccine to high risk groups, opened it to the general public as of December 17th. I had been checking the MassPro Clinic Finder website to find a location near us, which was open to all. Fortunately, I took the advice noted on the website to : “Call any flu clinic listed in the Flu Clinic Finder BEFORE going to get a flu shot to confirm the time and date, and to see if there is any charge.” I called a couple of locations which were listed as “open to all” only to find that they were in fact restricted to town residents. But I finally located one in the North Quabbin town of Orange. The gentleman I spoke with said it was truly open to all, so we decided to drive over.
The Orange flu clinic was well organized. The Clinic Finder site had advised that “Some clinics may bill your health insurance, so please bring your health insurance card with you.” We did and spent a few minutes filling out some paperwork. Then we got in line which shuffled along quickly enough that neither of us got any reading done in the paperback books we had brought along just in case. From arrival to departure it took less than an hour. As we left, the line looked quite short.
According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health's H1N1 Blog: “The amount of flu in the state continues to decline, however, it is important to remember that flu season typically lasts through the spring in New England. Therefore, we continue to encourage everyone to get the H1N1 vaccine and to keep practicing good health hygiene as we ring in the New Year!”
: : In addition to using the MassPro Clinic Finder you can also utilize the Flu.gov Google Map which includes commercial establishments like pharmacy chains that have the H1N1 vaccine available.
: : If you’d like to learn more about seasonal influenza, as well as the H1N1 virus, check out flu.gov. It’s a very good, user-friendly website with a wealth of information.