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No flu flurry - yet

So far, influenza vaccination supplies are meeting local demand in the area.

Alexandria Clinic, Sanford Health Broadway Clinic and Midway Medical Clinic have flu vaccine in stock and they’re keeping up with requests for it, according to Douglas County Public Health Nurse Doreen Hanson.

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The clinics encourage people to call ahead for a flu shot appointment, but walk-in patients will also be served.


Influenza is a contagious respiratory infection that can lead to serious complications for some people. Getting an annual vaccination is the best way to reduce your risk of serious illness.

Influenza is not the “stomach flu.” Influenza affects the nose, throat and lungs.

According to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), as of November 9, influenza activity across the state remains low.

A weekly influenza and respiratory illness activity report released by the MDH shows sporadic geographic spread of influenza.

There were two influenza-related hospitalizations reported as of November 9; neither were from west central Minnesota.


• It is not too late to get your influenza vaccination. Getting a vaccination now means you will reach your full immunity by the holidays.

• Health officials recommend that everyone 6 months of age and older be vaccinated for influenza.

• It’s especially important to vaccinate those at highest risk from complications due to influenza. Those include:

-Pregnant women, seniors, young children and those with asthma, diabetes or other chronic conditions, people who live in nursing homes, severely obese persons, Native Americans and Alaska natives, and African Americans, Hispanics and other racial/ethnic minorities who continue to show vaccination coverage rates lower than whites.

-Vaccinating health care workers and household contacts of children younger than 6 months is also important to protect those around them.

-Children younger than 9, receiving their vaccination for the first time, need to get two doses four weeks apart. Check with the provider before bringing a child to one of the NIVW clinics. Not all of the clinics can provide vaccinations to children.

• The cost of vaccinations will vary at each site. There is no cost to people with Medicare Part B and some other insurance plans, provided they bring their Medicare or other insurance cards with them. Contact your insurance plan if you are unsure of the cost to you. Those seeking shots are asked to wear short sleeves, perhaps under a sweater if it’s cold, to make getting the shot easier and more comfortable.

Source: MN Dept. of Health

Amy Chaffins

Amy Chaffins is a journalist working for the Echo Press newspaper in Alexandria, Minnesota.

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