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First H1N1 vaccine given today; public must wait

Washington County begins administering H1N1 influenza vaccinations today, but the public will have to wait a few weeks for a dose.

The county received 800 vaccination doses in nasal spray form and plans three clinics this week for county health-care workers and emergency medical responders. They are among priority recipients.

The first clinic is at the county's Cottage Grove service center from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. today. The others will be in Stillwater and Forest Lake.

Washington County Public Health Director Lowell Johnson said the county will receive more H1N1 vaccine, in injection form, within a few weeks.

The general public probably will not have access to the vaccine until mid-November, Johnson said.

"We're not open to give the vaccine to anyone who wants it," Johnson said of the initial clinics.

Children are next on the priority list for H1N1 vaccination, and public health officials are talking to area schools about "potentially" setting up vaccination clinics in school buildings, Johnson said.

At least 10 District 833 schools have reported in recent days that more than 5 percent of students are absent with "influenza-like illness."

Check back for updates.