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NEW YORK No matter how this season breaks out — in terms of numbers of people who become sick with the cold or flu, or in terms of how severe their symptoms may be — there is one sure thing: People know about the flu vaccine. And through this government Web site, they can find out where to get that vaccine if they are so inclined.


Those sites at this early stage, if they are even listed, are mostly hospitals and healthcare departments, and inoculations are being offered only to those people on the CDC’s high-risk group (healthcare professionals, pregnant women, caregivers of young children and people with a chronic upper-respiratory condition).



But given the need to inoculate a significant portion of the population in an effort to reach “herd immunity,” the pharmacies and retail clinics that many people already go to for their seasonal flu vaccine are expected to play a role.



And that means those pharmacies and clinics likely will be listed as a “where-to-go” on the Web site.



Also on the site — recommendations to get almost germophobic about washing hands, and if not with soap and water, then with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer; and recommendations around wearing N95 facemasks if you become a caregiver for someone who has the flu — both products, of course, currently in wide supply at the pharmacy.



Also in wide supply at the pharmacy — cold-and-flu symptom relievers and fever reducers. According to one company that tracks the sale of cough-cold medicines, sales of some of those medicines already are up more than 90%. And the season has yet to really start.


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