Questions about cost of Hepatitis A booster shot, health officials encourage second dose of vaccine

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JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) Possible exposure to Hepatitis A at two Tri-Cities restaurants last year, led to thousands receiving vaccines against the liver disease.

According to the Tennessee Department of Health, those who received a vaccine are encouraged to get the second dose, which completes the vaccine series.

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One man told News Channel 11’s Pheben Kassahun that the booster shot could cost him more than $80.

Since December 2017, the Tennessee Department of Health has seen about 3,000 confirmed cases of Hepatitis A.

The vaccine is a two dose series and health officials are urging people get the second one for a life-time of protection.

Last July, the Tennesse Department of Health estimated about 500 McDonald’s customers were affected by the hepatitis a outbreak, and provided free vaccines for anyone who may have visited the restaurant.

“Tennessee is, unfortunately, part of a multistate outbreak of Hepatitis A. It has affected more than 30 states across the country,”. Dr. Michelle Fiscus, MD said.

Dr. Fiscus said the outbreak has affected high-risk people like the homeless or using drug injections.

“For individuals that got one dose of vaccine, they should get a second dose in six months. That should confirm a much longer immunity,” Dr. Fiscus said.

Erik Larson ate at the McDonald’s around the time of the outbreak.

Larson explained, “They told us that this would be the first of two and we would need a second after six months and that would be free as well, just to come back sometime after February.

He said the health department told him he would have to pay for the second vaccine.

“I don’t have the $85 and I shouldn’t have to have the $85 when someone else exposed me to this,” Larson said, “I feel like, under the circumastances, the shot should be provided.”

News Channel 11 reached out the the Tennessee Department of Health for Northeast Tennessee who released this statement:

“At this time, the priority is to provide one dose of vaccine to anyone determined to be at-risk. A second dose should be administered six months after the first dose to complete the series, and individuals who are due for their second dose are encouraged to receive that dose through their medical provider, local pharmacist, or health department.”

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