NEWS DAY | MN Dept of Health withholding H1N1 clinic info / Above average, but slipping / Stupid criminals on YouTube / Omar Jamal

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Want flu shot info? MN Dept of Health won’t tell you More H1N1 vaccine has been shipped to Minnesota, but the news has been kept quiet by the Minnesota Health Department, reports MPR:

But up to this point, the vaccine distribution process here has been shrouded in secrecy. Some Minnesota clinics have withheld information from the public about their vaccine supplies. And the state Health Department has deliberately kept quiet about which clinics and hospitals have received doses. …
The Minnesota Department of Health has encouraged clinics to be cautious about promoting their vaccine supplies publicly. In fact, as of today, the agency still refuses to publish a list of providers that have received the vaccine.

Instead of going to the Minnesota Department of Health flu web site, check with your medical provider or the county public health service. Here’s a list of some of the metro-area flu shot clinics that have been scheduled, now that more vaccine has been received:

• Minneapolis has scheduled flu shot clinics for children 9 and under who go to seven schools: Sheridan, Ramsey, Cityview, Sullivan, Green Central Park, Lucy Craft Laney, and Anderson. Younger siblings of students in these schools can also go to the clinics for shots – for more info, see the City’s flu Web page.

• Hennepin County is holding two H1N1 vaccination clinics for children between the ages of 6 months and 9 years, today at Hopkins High School and Friday at New Hope Church.

• The Star Tribune reports that Bloomington, Edina and Richfield clinics on Saturday will offer shots to children ages 6 months through 9 years; children 10-18 years with chronic illnesses such as asthma, diabetes, and lung problems; children and adults who live with or care for children younger than 6 months.

• Ramsey County will have nasal vaccine clinics for healthy children, ages 2-9, who do not have health insurance or vaccine coverage. For details, see the Ramsey County public health web page.

In other H1N1 news:

• Puppets and plush toys are the latest casualty of H1N1 flu, as Hennepin County libraries this week halted their lending program for toys. The Star Tribune reports that parents had expressed concern that the H1N1 virus might be spread from child to child through the toys. Toys in children’s areas of libraries, including Clifford the Big Red Dog, are also being removed.

• The number of U.S. deaths attributed to H1N1 flu has increased to about 4,000, due to a new counting formula, according to BBC.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the new system is based on more precise figures provided by 10 states. … Latest figures show about 22 million Americans contracted the virus in six months with some 98,000 hospitalised.

Still above average, but slipping
A few years ago, Minnesota was the healthiest state in the nation – now we’re down to number 6, and falling, reports the Star Tribune. Vermont, Utah, Massachusetts, Hawaii, and New Hampshire have passed us up. We were number one from 2002-2006.

The Strib reports the main reasons:

• 15 percent of Minnesota children now live in poverty, up from 10 percent in 2006.

• 77.4 percent of children were immunized this past year, down from 85.2 percent in 2006.

• The percentage of pregnant women who got prenatal care has fallen to 70.2 percent from 76 percent in 2006.

The report comes from America’s Health Rankings, published Tuesday by UnitedHealth Foundation, a branch of Minnetonka-based UnitedHealth Group. Minnesota Health Commissioner Sanne Magnan said it’s good that Minnesota is still solidly in the top 10, and pointed out that our health outcomes, such as premature and cardiovascular deaths, still lead the nation. She said that could be due to a lag between health determinants and outcomes.

According to the report:

Challenges include low public health funding at $41 per person and a moderate prevalence of binge drinking at 17.2 percent of the population. Minnesota ranks lower for determinants than for health outcomes, indicating that overall healthiness may decline over time.


Stupid criminals on YouTube Minneapolis and St. Paul police are investigating after a video showing assaults on individuals and even naming some of the assailants was posted on YouTube. MPR reports:

Police spokesman Paul Schnell said St. Paul residents started emailing and calling about the video this morning, after seeing the six-and-a-half minute tape on the video sharing website. Some of the locations appear to be in St. Paul.

The video has since been taken down by YouTube (which determined that it contained “violent content”). Last night, City Pages said they had an archived copy and that you could view the video there — and maybe help identify the perps. This morning it appears that the archived copy is gone – but a true cesspool of racist comments remains.

The Star Tribune reports:

In the six-minute, 20-second video, entitled “Watch This T.V.,” the perpetrators give full names and nicknames such as “Lil Stain,” “Shark” and “Gun Play.” Police wouldn’t say whether they believe the full names are real, but they say they have identified the perpetrators and are trying to track them down.

According to the Pioneer Press:

The video … depicts “happy slapping,” a practice that began about 10 years ago in Europe and involves assaulting unsuspecting people, photographing or videotaping the assault and posting the images on the Internet, said Parry Aftab, executive director of WiredSafety, a New York nonprofit.

Jamal goes to UN Omar Jamal, executive director of the St. Paul-based Somali Justice Advocacy Center, has taken a post with the Permanent Mission of the Somali Republic to the United Nations, reports AP.

Jamal says Somalia is under siege by al-Shabab and he’ll make an “urgent appeal to save the country from al-Qaida.”

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