The city announced its plan to combat the H1N1 virus—the swine flu—this fall, and it leads with offering school-aged children free vaccines. The city also emphasized that all New Yorkers get vaccinated for seasonal as well as swine flu (whenever that vaccine is ready) early. Mayor Bloomberg said, "Today is the first of what will be many efforts to keep New Yorkers informed about what we are doing to prepare for the return of the H1N1 and seasonal flu. We can't predict this year's flu season, but we can make sure that City government is fully prepared for whatever happens."

In a change from earlier this year, the city says that schools will stay open in spite of swine flu cases—the schools were closed in the spring because "H1N1 was new and its potential impact was unknown" back then whereas now "H1N1 is better understood." Health Commissioner Thomas Farley and Schools Chancellor Joel Klein said, "The steps needed to control influenza in our schools are simple. By getting your children vaccinated, keeping them home when they’re sick, and teaching them the importance of washing hands and covering coughs, you can help keep our schools open and safe this year." In fact, the city even has graphics (above left) showing people how to cover their coughs and use hand sanitizers! More on the schools' swine flu policy here.

As for the seasonal flu, the city has revamped its flu information website (and has new ads, see above right)—nyc.gov/flu—to give the public information on what they should do and which groups are most at risk (children, pregnant women, the elderly, health care workers, etc.). Plus, by late September, the Department of Health says the "website will feature a locator - searchable by borough or zip code - that anyone can use find a nearby site where vaccine is available." More on the city's general season and swine flu policy here.

The city will also be tracking season and flu infections and giving daily and weekly updates.