800 Degrees pizzeria customers flock to get hepatitis A vaccine

Health officials vaccinated hundreds of people against hepatitis A Saturday during a free drive-thru clinic organized after a worker at a local restaurant tested positive for the highly contagious virus.

Anyone who ate or drank at 800 Degrees Three Fires restaurant on Illinois Road between May 18 and May 26 was urged to receive the vaccine as a precaution. Aside from the worker, no other cases have been detected, said hepatitis.AJohn Silcox, a spokesman for the Fort Wayne-Allen County Health Department.

On Saturday afternoon, dozens of cars slowly snaked through a parking lot to one of three stations where vaccinations were given. After filling out the necessary paperwork, drivers and passengers received a single shot to the arm while sitting in their cars.

During the busiest times, the wait peaked at close to an hour, Silcox said.

“We’ve definitely seen quite a bit of traffic,” he said. “We do ask for people to be patient with us and understanding.”

Mona Dewart, 58, said she waited about 45 minutes for a shot, passing the time reading a newspaper and playing games on her cellphone. The errand was an inconvenience, but for her it was better than potentially falling ill.

“I’m surprised that they had such a service like this,” she said of the clinic. “It certainly beats everybody scrambling to try to get into the physician’s office in the next few days.”

Fifty to 75 Health Department employees and volunteers helped with the clinic, Silcox said, adding that it was too early to estimate the cost of the effort.

He said 581 vaccinations had been administered by 5:30 p.m., and the clinic was scheduled to stay open until 8 p.m. Health officials have said they expect to vaccinate a total of 1,000 to 1,200 people this weekend.