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Mass H1N1 flu clinic set for Thursday in Detroit Lakes

Good news for those most at-risk of catching the H1N1 flu virus.

Becker County Community Health has finally received a sizable shipment of H1N1 vaccine -- both nasal and injectable -- and will hold a public immunization clinic from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday at the armory in Detroit Lakes.

This clinic is for: pregnant women, caregivers of infants under 6 months of age, children 6 months to 9 years needing first or second doses, healthcare workers and emergency responders, and those 10 years to 24 years old with health conditions. The vaccine is free.

"We are prepared to have a mass clinic," said Ronda Stock, Becker County Community Health supervisor. "Because we have such a limited staff, we hope the public jumps on board with this."

While reports of H1N1 seem to be slightly declining, there is a third wave expected. The only way to prevent illness is vaccination.

Because it takes 7-10 days for the vaccine to take full effect, "time is of the essence" for parents to get their children vaccinated, Stock said. "We're hoping to catch kids before the Christmas break."

Elementary school-age kids in Detroit Lakes, Lake Park-Audubon and Frazee-Vergas have already received the first of two recommended doses of H1N1 vaccine. Stock hopes parents will bring kids to the mass clinic on Thursday for their second doses.

The flu clinic will not be open to the general public.

"We will hold to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) subtarget groups with this shipment," Stock said. That means children, pregnant women, daycare and health care workers and similar at-risk groups.

Stock said this latest shipment, like the others, arrived at her office with little or no advanced warning.

But she was happy to receive a substantial amount of the vaccine, and in both the nasal mist and injectable forms.

"All we've had up to this point is tiny little amounts of injectables," she said. "Now we have a good bit of both."

The public immunization clinic will be held this Thursday, Dec. 10 at the National Guard Armory located at 1220 Rossman Ave. from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. or until the vaccine supply runs out.

"We're just hoping to have a great turnout," Stock said.