H1N1 shots – for everyone

St. Paul-Ramsey County Public Health announced that everyone can come and get an H1N1 flu shot, beginning with a clinic on Saturday, December 19, from noon to 4 p.m. at North Heights Christian Academy, 2701 North Rice Street, Roseville. According to the Ramsey County Public Health website, “The vaccine is free and available on a first-come, first-served basis.” Pubic health officials said they are opening the shots to everyone because there is more vaccine than is needed for high-risk groups. The website also lists clinics earlier in the week for high-risk groups – call 651-266-2440 for further information.

Minneapolis scheduled an H1N1 vaccination clinic for high risk groups at South High School from 4-8 p.m. on Thursday, December 17. This clinic is not limited to Minneapolis residents.

The Minnesota Department of Health, which still lists no Ramsey County or St. Paul sites for any flu vaccine, said they wished that St. Paul had not made this announcement. However, MPR reported Saturday that MDH probably will open up flu shots to everyone some time this week, but that MDH says nothing is official until they make a public announcement. Sure – because they’ve done such a super job of communicating so far.

The Centers for Disease Control reported that this fall’s wave of H1N1 infections is decreasing. Overall, the CDC estimates that from April through November 14, 2009, there were between 34 million and 67 million cases of H1N1 (mid-level in the range=47 million), with between 154,000 and 303,000 H1N1-related hospitalizations (mid-level in the range=213,000), and with somewhere between 7,070 and 13,930 deaths caused by H1N1 (mid-level in the range=9,820).

If H1N1 follows the path of previous epidemics, another wave may begin in January or February.

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