H1N1 vaccine expected to arrive in Octoberby Lorna Benson, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Minnesota should start receiving its first doses of H1N1 influenza vaccine in less than two weeks.
During a telephone conference call with reporters Thursday, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius said a small amount of vaccine will be ready for distribution soon.
"We anticipate that during the first full week in October there will be between 6 and 7 million doses available, mostly in the nasal spray form, although some limited injectable vaccine will be available," she said.
Sebelius also said that some Americans are worried they won't be able to afford getting immunized.
"We've asked that providers strongly consider not charging for distribution fees and not impose any kind of financial barrier on people trying to get the vaccine," she said. "To date there have been a lot of voluntary agreements to do that. We can't make it manditory but we're hoping that people join this effort."
Minnesota's share of that first vaccine shipment will be based on state population numbers. It will be up to state officials to decide how to distribute the vaccine.
Federal officials predict that by the end of October, manufacturers will have distributed more than 60 million doses of pandemic flu vaccine. The federal government has ordered a total of 250 million doses.