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How to Get H1N1 Swine Flu Vaccine

Perseverance, Patience, Priority Status Key to Finding Flu Shots

Looking for H1N1 Swine Flu Vaccine

Like the Kiblingers, millions of Americans are getting flu shots and flu sniffs. Here's how they are doing it -- and how you can maximize your odds of finding H1N1 swine flu vaccine for eligible family members.

The first step should be to check the flu.gov web site. There's a map of the United States; click on your state and you'll find links to your state health department.

At this point, residents of different states will have different experiences. Some states offer information only about public vaccine providers (not all states allocate vaccine to private providers); others list both public and private providers. Some states have links to local health departments, and those local departments have information about where and when vaccination clinics will be held.

Whichever experience you have, it's a good idea to use your telephone -- frequently. Regularly check with your local health department and with vaccine providers in your area. If you want to see how much vaccine is flowing into your state, check the CDC's 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccine supply status web page.

The key is to keep at it. There will, eventually, be plenty of vaccine. It's not clear when that will be.

"When we get to that sweet spot where it feels like there's plenty of vaccine is hard to predict," CDC immunization and respiratory disease chief Anne Schuchat, MD, said today at a news conference. "I am expecting in the next several weeks it will get better and better -- but we have been burned on predictions and I don't want to get more specific than that."

Don't forget that the H1N1 swine flu vaccine isn't the only vaccine that will protect you this flu season.

One vaccine nearly everyone overlooks is the pneumococcal vaccine, which protects against the bacterial infections that make life miserable -- or even kill -- kids and older adults weakened by the flu.

And of course there is the seasonal flu vaccine, although it is looking like the 114 million doses that will be available this year won't be enough to meet the unprecedented demand. You can find a seasonal flu-shot locator at the American Lung Association web site.

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