This year’s seasonal flu vaccine has arrived in doctors’ offices, and it’s recommended for pretty much everyone over the age of 6 months on a yearly basis.
Two new websites and apps developed by a techie at Boston Children’s Hospital can help you find a clinic offering flu vaccines near you, called vaccine.health
map.org, and to track the flu, called www.flunearyou.org, as it spreads through New England. The flu tracking app relies on crowdsourcing — thousands of people who register and report how they’re feeling on a day to day basis. So far, only 1 percent of flu trackers in the Boston area report having flu-like symptoms like coughing, fever, or a runny nose.
“We look for that to get into the 3 to 5 percent range before we think something is happening,” said John Brownstein, director of Boston Children’s Hospital Informatics Program.
The flu shot finder has a list of 50 pharmacies in Boston offering the $30 to $35 vaccine, which is covered by insurance. It will also tell you which type of the vaccine is available at each clinic. There are seven different flu vaccines including nasal sprays, cell-based shots for those with egg allergies, and high-dose vaccines for seniors.
There’s also a new shot that protects against four circulating viruses — quadrivalent — instead of the standard trivalent shot, which this year protects against two A strains and a B strain.Deborah Kotz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @debkotz2.