Computer glitch means delay in flu vaccine for low-income children

11:10 PM, Oct 12, 2008   |    comments
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If insurance doesn't pay for your children's' flu vaccine, there's a federally funded program here in Minnesota that may. It's called the Minnesota Vaccines for Children program. But this year, there's a delay in getting vaccine from that program out to clinics and hospitals. Minnesota Department of Health spokesperson, Doug Schultz, says, "We have asked that many of our providers, if they have vaccine on hand, many of them do, to use that vaccine to fill in." Schultz says there was a glitch in the new software used to order the vaccine. Orders for more than 80 thousand doses initially didn't go through. Schultz says, "We believe that we have fixed the problem, as of Friday, and have placed almost all of the orders that were essentially on backorders, we've placed all the orders with the CDC and we expect all of the vaccine will start arriving sometime next week." According to Dr. Noe Mateo, medical director for Infection Control at Regions Hospital, and on staff with Health Partners clinics, both Regions and Health Partners have plenty of flu vaccine on hand to cover for any delay from the Minnesota Vaccines for Children program. Mateo says, "We have plenty of supply. We have plenty of stock. Our clinics, our vaccination clinics, have gone on without a hitch and so if it's a matter of redistribution or reallocation, that sort of plays out over time." Plus, its very early in the flu season. According to Schultz, "Historically, the last few years, we've had our first few flu cases sometime in December." That means children should still be able to get vaccine long before the flu arrives. Nationwide, there's actually more flu vaccine available than ever before, just under 150 million doses. And this year, for the first, time, the Centers for Disease Control now recommends that all school age children get the vaccine.

By Renee Tessman, KARE 11 News

(Copyright 2008 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)

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