People who went to a Fergus Falls clinic to get a flu shot didn't receive the vaccine they wanted. Instead, they received an old-fashioned remedy for warding off the flu.

The 20-some people who went to the flu shot clinic at Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union (search) were sent home with a can of chicken soup and a pack of tissues.

Nick Mariotti, the branch supervisor, said the idea started out as a joke when he and his staff learned they had to cancel last Friday's clinic because of the nationwide shortage of flu vaccines.

Mariotti decided to buy a case of Campbell's chicken noodle soup and a bunch of tissues. He said the workers "kept them at the front desk, so when people walked in for the flu shot clinic, we could break the news lightly."

When the vaccine seekers turned to leave without their flu shot, Mariotti pointed to the soup and said: "Maybe this will help."

Most left with smiles on their faces, he said.

Kris Ehresmann, who heads the state's immunization program, was impressed.

"Well, you know, it's better than nothing," she said with a laugh. Besides, she added, "there are supposed to be some beneficial things in chicken soup."