H1N1 vaccine shipped to Minnesota

Health care workers will be the first to receive the vaccine.

by Jessica Van Berkel

The first 28,000 doses of H1N1 influenza vaccine have been shipped to Minnesota the Center for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday. People working in health care and emergency medicine will be the first to receive the vaccine when it arrives, which the CDC said should be by Tuesday, Dr. Doug Schultz, spokesman for the Minnesota Department of Health, said. The shipment will go âÄúalmost entirely,âÄù to health care workers, because the department doesnâÄôt want them to get sick or expose others who are medically vulnerable to the influenza. âÄúWe want them to be on the job,âÄù Schultz said. The shipment did not meet the Minnesota Department of HealthâÄôs projections for the first supply, which were about 50,000 doses. However, now that the first supply has been sent the department is planning to see a âÄúsnowball effect,âÄù with the vaccine arriving in continuous small supplies until all populations are covered, Schultz said. Initial shipments have gone to 25 other states or big cities, like Washington, D.C., Schultz said. The University of Minnesota is waiting to hear from the Department of Health, which has not yet released information on which medical facilities will receive the vaccine or how much they will get. At Boynton Health Services , staff is just going to âÄúsit back and see what happens, how far down it goes,âÄù Dave Golden, director of public health and marketing at Boynton, said. The University population is primarily composed of people less than 24 years old, which is considered a high risk group and should receive the vaccine sooner than the general population. The âÄúworking targetâÄù for covering the high risk populations is estimated to be around late October to early November However, the first shipment was sent âÄúa little earlier than we anticipated,âÄù Schultz said. When the University receives a shipment for the student population, they will âÄúroll it into the next scheduled [flu] clinic,âÄù Golden said. âÄúWe have a pretty immediate set up in mind,âÄù he said. Details of the vaccine delivery are uncertain for distributors, because âÄúuntil we get it, we donâÄôt know,âÄù Dr. Elizabeth McClure, medical director at the Academic Health Center Office of Emergency Response, said. Boynton was one of many health care facilities across the state to pre-register for the vaccine with the Minnesota Department of Health. Boynton is âÄústanding ready,âÄù but has had to be flexible, because âÄúH1N1 is a big mystery âÄî itâÄôs like flu in the old years,âÄù Golden said.