PEQUOT LAKES - Parents and their children waited patiently at 10:30 Friday morning for their turn for H1N1 vaccinations, the line at one point snaking through the hallways at Pequot Lakes High School.
But Crow Wing County Public Health nurses and other medical volunteers worked quickly, administering more than 300 doses of the H1N1 vaccine injectables and FluMist within the first hour the immunization clinic was opened. Several parents reported their average wait times were anywhere from 10-20 minutes.
By 11 a.m. there was no longer a line and parents were able to take their children directly inside the doors of the middle school gymnasium to get vaccinated. The clinic provided 551 total doses to eligible children and adults at Friday's clinic.
"We are hoping at one point we can say we're out of vaccine because it means the community responded," Joyce Mueller, a county public health nurse, said late Friday morning. "But we don't think we're going to run out. I think it's gone really smoothly."
Cole Kaneski, 7, watched an approaching needle apprehensively while father Sean held up Cole's sleeve Friday at an H1N1 clinic sponsored by Crow Wing County Public Health at the Pequot Lakes High School. Brainerd Dispatch/Kelly Humphrey» Purchase reprints of this photo.
A few people were turned away from receiving the vaccine because they didn't meet the eligibility requirements. Those eligible to receive the vaccine Friday were children ages 6 months to 9 years; adolescents ages 10-18 with high risk medical conditions; pregnant women; and parents, household members and caregivers of infants younger than 6 months.
Two H1N1 clinics conducted last week in Crosby and Brainerd for pregnant women only served fewer than 200 women.
Mueller said the county receives its direction from the Minnesota Department of Health and the county will continue to attempt to vaccinate those populations deemed high risk for the H1N1 virus at mass clinics during the upcoming months. She said it may not be until after Jan. 1 when state health officials recommend opening up the H1N1 vaccinations to the general population, depending on vaccine availability.
A long line of parents and children waited Friday at an H1N1 clinic in the Pequot Lakes High School. The clinic was sponsored by Crow Wing County Public Health. Brainerd Dispatch/Kelly Humphrey» Purchase reprints of this photo.
Two other H1N1 flu clinics have been scheduled for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 21 at Forestview Middle School in Baxter and 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. Nov. 25 at Cuyuna Range Elementary School in Crosby. Mueller said the times for the Forestview H1N1 clinic may be shortened because county health officials are seeing most people are coming at the start of the clinics. Check the county flu hotline number for possible updated times for that Nov. 21 clinic.
Those eligible to receive vaccine must meet the same criteria as those, listed above, who received it at the Pequot Lakes clinic Friday. There is no charge for the vaccine. Children must be accompanied by their parents or legal guardians in order to receive the vaccine. The flu shots or FluMist will be given as appropriate for the individual's age.
Call the Crow Wing County flu hotline at 822-7022 to find out if those targeted groups have been expanded or for newly scheduled clinics.
JODIE TWEED may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5858.
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