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Lubbock’s Cheddar’s Casual Café Costs Public Health $250,000 Due to Hepatitis A

Lubbock Avalanche-Journal reports that leftover vaccines from a Hepatitis A scare last year will be administered to those who took the first vaccination in hopes of providing extended protection against the disease.

An employee at Cheddar’s Casual Café contracted the viral illness last September, potentially exposing anyone who ate at the restaurant.

Bridget Faulkenberry, director of the Health Department, said about 2,200 vaccinations are left over — some for children and some for adults — for those who took the first vaccine.

Since this vaccination is not mandatory, the department will charge $15 per vaccine. The Health Department spent about $240,000 on the initial doses of vaccine last September, Faulkenberry said.

The charge will help recuperate some of that money spent last year, Faulkenberry said.

She said she expects to have leftover vaccines this time around, too, as not everyone will take another one, and some people who took the first vaccine were from out of town.

The vaccines will be administered by nurses from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. April 3 and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 5 in the Health Department at 1902 Texas Ave., Faulkenberry said.

The Health Department will send letters to those eligible for the vaccine, and the recipients must bring the letter to get the vaccination. The letter states clinic will be cash only.

About 2,700 people took the vaccine the first time, said Faulkenberry. There were no cases reported other than the initial one, Faulkenberry said.

Hepatitis A is a viral disease, affecting the liver and causing inflammation and malfunction of the liver cells, said Dr. Joe Sasin, medical director for the emergency department at University Medical Center.

Sasin said the second immunization, which is purely preventative, should last for several decades.

“It’s very, very important to get that second immunization, and high-risk groups definitely should get the vaccine,” Sasin said.

He said Hepatitis A usually is not life threatening unless dealing with the very young or very old, or people who have other health complications. Most people who have Hepatitis A get over it on their own, and are immune to it the rest of their lives.

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