Catch flu information at NYC site

Facing an abundance of germs and a shortage of vaccines, New York City's Department of Health has turned to the World Wide Web to help people ward off the flu.

A new public Web site (www.nyc.gov/html/doh/tml/imm/fluhome.html), launched Oct. 25, enables people to search for the closest facility where they can get vaccinated.

People can search by facility name, borough or ZIP code or can click on the appropriate area on a map. Facilities are identified by type — such as hospital, senior center or walk-in clinic — address, telephone number, hours of operation and any associated costs.

Department of Health spokesman Ed Carubis said the Web site was developed in response to the national shortage of the flu vaccine. "Working with both private entities and with our own Department of Health clinics, we wanted to provide a single place of information so [citizens] can search facilities," he said.

People who don't have Internet access can call a toll-free number to speak with operators who can access the Web site for them.

Built with the help of New York City software company Information Builders for $40,000, the site is part of a larger strategy to provide various types of health information to the community, Carubis said.

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