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Health careworkers to receive first supply of H1N1 flu vaccine

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news Bemidji, 56619
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

First supply of H1N1 vaccine will go to Minnesota health care and emergency medical workers Initial shipment of 28,000 doses allocated to Minnesota, more available in coming weeks

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Minnesota will soon receive its first supply of vaccine for the novel H1N1 influenza virus, according to an announcement today from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The state will receive 28,000 doses of a weakened live virus vaccine in the form of a nasal spray.

This initial shipment of the vaccine will be administered to health care and emergency medical workers. These workers are targeted because they are at risk of being exposed to the virus, and they could expose medically vulnerable patients to the virus if they get sick. In addition, there could be a significant impact on the health care system if they get sick and have to miss work.

"By administering the vaccine first to health care and emergency medical workers, we are helping to ensure that our health care system is in good shape to care for Minnesotans who become ill," said Dr. Sanne Magnan, Minnesota Commissioner of Health. "Allocating this initial supply of vaccine to health care and emergency medical workers is consistent with the CDC's recommendations."

The CDC estimates that more than 150 million doses of vaccine will ultimately be available throughout the U.S. This means that anyone who wants the vaccine should be able to get it. Because the vaccine will be distributed to states in various quantities over the coming weeks, those at highest risk of complications from the novel H1N1 influenza will be targeted to receive the vaccine first. High-risk individuals include:

* Pregnant women.

* People who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age.

* Health care and emergency medical services personnel.

* People between the ages of 6 months and 24 years old.

* People 25 through 64 years of age who are at higher risk for H1N1 because of chronic health disorders or compromised immune systems.

More information will be made available by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) when additional supplies of the vaccine arrive. In the meantime, MDH officials continue to urge Minnesotans to get the seasonal flu vaccine. People should contact their health care provider or check the flu shot clinic finder at mdhflu.com to find a time and place where they can get vaccinated.

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