Several hundred doses of the H1N1 vaccine arrived Wednesday in Crow Wing County and the first walk-in clinic has been scheduled for 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday at the Brainerd Armory.
However, this initial vaccine shipment is only for children and adults who meet specific criteria; others will be turned away at the door, said Joyce Mueller, a Crow Wing County Public Health nurse.
Those eligible to receive the vaccine at Monday's clinic are infants ages 6 to 35 months and household members and caregivers of infants younger than 6 months. The vaccine is free. The young children will receive injectable vaccines while caregivers and household members of infants younger than 6 months will only receive the nasal spray vaccine. Children must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
No appointments are being accepted and the clinic is on a walk-in basis only. Mueller stressed that she doesn't want people to panic. She said public health is expecting to receive additional shipments possibly next week but for sure the following week. Other H1N1 immunization clinics then will be quickly scheduled to distribute the vaccine. The next clinic scheduled likely will be for pregnant women, possibly next week or the following week, depending on vaccine availability.
The county received 300 injectable doses and 500 FluMist doses Wednesday, the majority of it will be distributed at Monday's clinic. Some of the injectable vaccine went to Central Lakes Medical Clinic in Crosby for its medically fragile children; Brainerd Medical Center already had some vaccine for its medically fragile children. Also, some vaccine is being distributed to pregnant healthcare workers in both Brainerd and Crosby.
"We are very limited in our doses but we expect to receive more so these clinics will be ongoing," said Mueller. "We want to be very clear that this is not the time to panic. We want people to come in with respect. We will get the vaccine out as quickly as possible. We're doing the very best we can with the vaccine we're being allocated."
JODIE TWEED may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5858.
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