Not all places hurting for flu vaccine

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Seniors and other high-priority candidates have been skipping flu shots this year, leaving thousands of unused doses in Minnesota, according to a report in the New York Times. Healthcare workers who had been asked to refrain from getting the vaccine will be asked to do so soon if the trend continues, according to state officials cited in the newspaper.

Eventually, the state may simply ship unused vaccine to other states, noted Kristen Ehresmann, manager of the immunizations section of the Minnesota Department of Health. The reason for the surplus may be traced to what one official calls the "Minnesota nice" attitude.

For example, only 259 people showed up for Bloomington, MN, flu shot clinic with 800 doses of vaccine available, and a Dodge County clinic last month administered just 200 shots instead of the 1,000 it gives most years.

The state has an estimated 1.6 million high-risk residents but with more of them passing on the shots this year than in years past there are about 120,000 flu shots left to give.