Darla Carter of Insider Louisville reports the city is taking aim at the hepatitis A outbreak by offering low-cost vaccination shots to food-service and hospitality industry workers such as restaurant employees.
The Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness and the University of Louisville Global Health Center have teamed up to provide the service at a discounted price of $25 per shot, with the restaurant or business paying the fee.
“It’s a significant discount,” said health department spokesman Dave Langdon, noting that the typical rate is more like $65 to $100 a dose.
Against the Grain, a Louisville brewery and restaurant, is among the businesses that have stepped up to get some workers vaccinated.
“We care for our employees and want them to be well and we care for our customers and want them to be well,” co-owner Adam Watson said. ” … Any place that handles food, it’s probably a wise decision to try and get this done.”
The discounted shots are part of an effort to stop an outbreak that has led to nearly 200 cases of acute hepatitis A in the Louisville area, according to the health department. At least one person has died.
Locally, the highly contagious liver infection mainly has stricken the homeless and people who use drugs. It’s usually spread when a person unknowingly ingests the virus from objects, food or drinks contaminated with small amounts of stool from an infected person, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The health department and its partners have given shots to thousands of people at high risk, such as the homeless, and is urging restaurants and other food handlers to practice good sanitation and hygiene as the Kentucky Derby approaches in May.
Also, by taking advantage of the discounted shots, businesses “certainly would be helping to prevent the spread of hepatitis A throughout the community,” Langdon said. “Also, they would be protecting themselves against the potential bad publicity and loss of business that might come with having one of their workers identified with being infected with hepatitis A.”