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Minn. Health Department to open up H1N1 vaccines for all next week

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MPR News has learned that Minnesota will open up H1N1 vaccinations to everyone next week. 

Several people who attended a Friday meeting with the Health Department said the agency will allow providers to begin giving the H1N1 vaccine to any Minnesotan who wants it starting on Wednesday, provided that the provider has enough vaccine. The officials did not want to be identified by name. 

Until now, the Health Department has instructed providers to give the vaccine only to people in priority groups. The groups include children and young adults, pregnant women, health care workers, people with health conditions and infant caretakers. 

But in the past two weeks some clinics and health agencies have said that demand for vaccine among those groups is waning and they're having trouble using up the doses they already have. On Thursday, the St. Paul-Ramsey Department of Health announced it was going to give vaccine to anyone who wants it at mass clinic next weekend.

Health Department spokesman Buddy Ferguson said the agency is actively discussing expanding the vaccination program, but that the decision is not considered final until the Department makes a public announcement about it.