MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Are Minnesotans too nice to get flu shots?

That’s what some nurses are thinking after vaccination sites around the Twin Cities are being left with extra doses of vaccine, despite the nationwide shortage.

“I’ve heard many people say, ‘I am 65, but my 92-year old mom needs it,”‘ said Mary Ann Blade, president of the Minnesota Visiting Nurses Agency, which runs flu clinics around the state.

Last week at a clinic at in the Minneapolis suburb of Bloomington, public health workers came to City Hall with 800 vaccine doses but gave out only 259. About 10 miles to the southwest, nurses at a clinic in Prior Lake arrived Tuesday with 1,000 doses and left with 750.

Frustrated health officials said they may be dealing with an excessive case of “Minnesota nice,” the copious courtesy and deferential nature for which Minnesotans are known.

Kris Ehresmann, head of the vaccine program at the Minnesota Health Department, said there are about 1.6 million high-risk people in Minnesota who should be vaccinated, but many have not gotten shots. The state still has about 925,000 doses available.

“We can’t make them get vaccinated,” Ehresmann said. “But we want to make sure we’ve gotten the word out” that vaccine is available.

But soon, she said, health officials will start distributing extra doses to health care workers, who are next on the priority list.


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