Shortage forces HealthPartners to suspend walk-in flu vaccinationsby Madeleine Baran, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — HealthPartners has temporarily suspended walk-in seasonal flu clinics due to a vaccine shortage.
The clinics will continue to provide the seasonal flu vaccine to patients with scheduled appointments and during regular clinic visits. The walk-in clinics will reopen when more vaccine becomes available.
"As vaccine manufacturers gear up for delivering H1N1 flu vaccine, shipments of seasonal flu vaccine have slowed." said Beth Averbeck, M.D, HealthPartners' associate medical director for primary care, in a statement.
Averbeck said the clinics expect to receive more seasonal flu vaccine sometime in October.
The HealthPartners announcement follows the University of Minnesota's decision yesterday to postpone two seasonal flu clinics as a result of vaccine shortage.
The university immunized 2,000 students and staff during its first clinic.
Health experts have stressed the importance of basic hygiene, in addition to the vaccine, to reduce the risk of contracting both seasonal and H1N1 influenza.
As part of that effort, Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota plans to donate 15,000 bottles of hand sanitizer to Minneapolis and St. Paul public schools starting this week.
The seasonal flu shot does not protect against the H1N1 virus. A vaccine for H1N1 has been approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and will be available in Minnesota in mid to late October.