Woman Arrested for So-called Flu Shots

A woman who gave what she said were flu shots to more than two dozen people, then fled when asked for information about her credentials, was arrested Friday, police said.

Augsburg College


"It is possible that it was flu vaccine, and it's also possible that it was saline. But we don't know," said Doug Schultz, a spokesman for the state Health Department.

Officers arrested the 33-year-old woman in Belgrade on suspicion of theft and drug possession, Minneapolis police spokesman Ron Reier said in a news release. Evidence was recovered, though police didn't provide details.

A call to Reier wasn't immediately returned Friday night.

The college said in a statement that the woman claimed to be with the American Heart Association (search) and was wearing green scrubs and a white lab coat. She left campus when asked for more information about her credentials, the school said.

The American Heart Association told the school the woman was not affiliated with the organization.

The college has asked anyone who received a shot from the woman to contact campus security and their own physician. Security workers sent e-mails to students, teachers and others on campus and posted signs on the doors of campus buildings after learning about the suspicious shots.

John Pack, the director of safety and security for Augsburg, said the woman charged $20 per shot and gave them near an area of the building where shots have been given in the past.

"She had individually wrapped needles, a sharps container — everything she was doing looked professional," he said.

Pack also said an Augsburg employee who schedules rooms for various uses was home on bed rest during the week and the college was in the process of reassigning those duties. "This woman got lucky," he said.

The United States has suffered a flu vaccine shortage since British health officials shut down a Liverpool plant operated by shot-maker Chiron Corp. in October, canceling a shipment of 48 million doses. Chiron is one of the nation's two suppliers.