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H1N1 vaccine trickling into Wadena County

Wadena County is getting the H1N1 vaccine in "little fits and starts," according to Public Health Director Karen Nelson.

"It's going to be a job to give the public message about who should come for the vaccine and which time," Nelson told Wadena County commissioners on Wednesday. "So we're hoping that folks aren't too disappointed that they can't get it."

Public Health expects to get the vaccine on a weekly basis, but they never know in what amounts, she said. Which group of at-risk people gets the vaccine depends on how much the state receives from the federal government.

Public Health received its first 50 doses Oct. 15, she said. They're intended for Public Health staff and first responders. The vaccine was the flu mist, so it couldn't be given to anyone 50 or older or people with certain chronic conditions. Only two people on her staff could get it so the rest were divided up among first responders from Sebeka, Wadena, Menahga and Verndale, Nelson said.

A shipment of vaccine is coming for pregnant women, caregivers of babies under 6 months, children 6 months to 4 years old and children ages 5-18 who have chronic conditions that put them at risk, Nelson said. The vaccine was certified by the Food and Drug Administration for pediatric use. Children are more vulnerable than adults, she said.

The hospital also received a small amount of vaccine for health care workers, she said.

Public Health was told the school shipment may arrive by Nov. 9, she said in a Thursday interview. However, every Public Health agency in the state wants it by Nov. 9 so Wadena County may have to wait its turn. They are ready to go when it comes, she said.

"So we're asking everyone to be patient and little by little we will get vaccine for everyone who wants it," Nelson said.