I am still in Australia where I spoke on food safety today and was pleased to see in the new that Hawaii health authorities and its restaurant association step up with a call to vaccinate food service workers – something that I have been pitching for some time.
KHON reports that the Hawaii Restaurant Association (HRA) is teaming up with Hawaii Medical Assurance Association (HMAA) to ensure all restaurant employees can get vaccinated in light of an ongoing hepatitis A outbreak.
One-hundred-thirty-five cases have been confirmed as of Aug. 3, and are largely focused on Oahu. Seven individuals now live on the islands of Hawaii, Kauai, and Maui, and one visitor has returned to the mainland.
The Hawaii Department of Health have been releasing a list of restaurants and food service businesses where employees were diagnosed with hepatitis A.
Health officials say there is no indication these businesses are sources of this outbreak and the likelihood that patrons will become infected is very low. However, customers were notified out of an abundance of caution and urged to contact their healthcare provider for advice and possible preventive care.
Any business, not just those in the food service industry, can now contact HMAA to set up hepatitis A vaccination clinics for their employees for free with a minimum of 15 participants. A $50 fee applies for businesses with fewer than 15 participants.
Coverage of the actual vaccination would depend on the insurance company for that business.
The vaccination is about $95 to $100 and HMAA covers the vaccination at 100 percent.
As they say “Down Under,” “Good on Ya”