Online Exchange Meets Flu Vaccine Needs in Minnesota

State Health Department responds to flu outbreak by creating an online bulletin board to match vaccine supplies with clinics in need.

by / January 30, 2013
Sanofi Pasteur/Flickr CC

The state of Minnesota, like so many others around the country, is experiencing a flu outbreak on a scale it hasn't seen in several years, according to the Star Tribune. To date, more than 1,800 people have been hospitalized and 67 people have lost their lives.

With vaccine supplies dwindling at this point in the season, the Minnesota Department of Health is stepping in to help the remaining vaccines get to the health-care providers whose patients still need them. The difference between the Department of Health's assistance this year compared to last is that the matching game is going online.

"It's sort of like a dating site for providers," Kris Ehresmann, director of infectious disease epidemiology at the Health Department, said of the online bulletin board.

Providers needing vaccines post details, including the extent of their shortage along with contact information, to connect with providers who have excess vaccines.

While some connections have been made, logistical challenges have also materialized. Vaccines must be transported at certain temperatures, limiting the number of miles that can be traveled to conduct exchanges.

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