Editor’s Platform: Hepatitis A Vaccines Cost Much Less Than Lawsuits

I felt another blog post come up after reading the title of Spectrum 1:

“More vaccination clinics are offered this week after possible exposure to hepatitis A at the Fredonia restaurant”

There were two more hepatitis A vaccination clinics in Chautauqua County this week after a potential exposure virus in a restaurant.

The Chautauqua County Health Department said anyone who ate at The Mustard Seed in Fredonia between April 1 and May 19 could have been exposed and should consider getting the shot.

Doctors say most people don’t get sick when a restaurant worker has hepatitis A, but there’s always a risk. Symptoms include fever, loss of appetite, and nausea.

It is important to note that the vaccine is only effective within two weeks of exposure.

As I said before:

It is irresponsible for restaurants not to offer hepatitis A vaccines to employees

Or, ignore the problem, disgust your customers, and rest assured that you will be sued.

A fact from the CDC: “Since hepatitis A outbreaks were first identified in 2016, more than 39,000 cases, 24,000 hospitalizations and 374 deaths due to infection with the hepatitis A virus (HAV ) have been reported. “

Sure, some of the above are homeless or drug addicts, but how many of them work in restaurants? Where exhibited in restaurants? Note: 30-40% of those affected are NOT homeless or drug addicts.

Hardly a day goes by without a warning from a health department somewhere that an infected food handler is behind another potential hepatitis A outbreak.

In the absence of vaccination of food handlers, combined with an effective and rigorous policy of hand washing, there will always be more outbreaks of hepatitis A. It is time for health services across the country to demand immunization of food service workers, especially those serving the very young and the elderly.

Hepatitis A is a communicable disease that spreads from person to person. It is spread almost exclusively through fecal-oral contact, usually person-to-person, or through contaminated food or water. Hepatitis A is the only foodborne illness that is preventable by vaccination. According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), since the vaccine’s launch, infection rates have fallen by 92%.

The CDC estimates that 83,000 cases of hepatitis A occur in the United States each year, and many of these cases are linked to foodborne transmission. In 1999, more than 10,000 people were hospitalized with hepatitis A infections and 83 people died. In 2003, 650 people became ill, four died, and nearly 10,000 people received IG (immunoglobulin) injections after eating at a restaurant in Pennsylvania. Not only do customers get sick, but businesses also lose customers or some simply go bankrupt.

Although the CDC has yet to call for mandatory vaccination of foodservice workers, it has repeatedly pointed out that the consumption of contaminated food by workers is a major cause of foodborne illness in the United States. .

Hepatitis A continues to be one of the most frequently reported vaccine-preventable diseases in the United States, despite the approval of the hepatitis A vaccine by the FDA in 1995. Widespread vaccination of appropriate susceptible populations would significantly reduce the incidence of the disease and potentially eliminate the indigenous transmission of hepatitis A infections. Vaccinations cost around $ 50. The main economic reason why these preventative injections were not used is the high turnover of restaurant workers. Eating out becomes much less of a gamble if all restaurant workers were faced with the same requirement.

According to the CDC, the costs associated with hepatitis A are substantial. Between 11% and 22% of people with hepatitis A are hospitalized. Adults who fall ill lose an average of 27 working days. Health services incur substantial costs to provide post-exposure prophylaxis for an average of 11 contacts per case. Average costs (direct and indirect) for hepatitis A range from $ 1,817 to $ 2,459 per case for adults and from $ 433 to $ 1,492 per case for children under 18. In 1989, the estimated direct and indirect annual costs of hepatitis A in the United States were over $ 200 million, or over $ 300 million in 1997 dollars. A new CDC report shows that in 2010, a just over 10% of people aged 19 to 49 have been vaccinated against hepatitis A.

Vaccinating an employee makes sense. It is moral to protect clients from illness that can lead to serious illness and death. The vaccines also protect the company from the multi-million dollar fallout that can occur if people fall ill or if thousands of people are forced to queue for vaccinations to avoid a bigger problem.

Or, ignore the problem, disgust your customers, and rest assured that you will be sued.

About Rhonda Lee

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