HDOH urges 2nd round of Hepatitis A vaccines

LIHUE — It’s time to get the second round of Hepatitis A shots for those who got vaccinated during the 2016 outbreak related to Genki Sushi restaurants in Hawaii.

That means more than 90,000 people statewide will be making a trip to their local pharmacy or health care provider to get the second dose.

“While one dose of Hepatitis A vaccine provides good protection, two doses are necessary for nearly 100 percent protection and lasting immunity,” said state epidemiologist Sarah Park in a news release.

Hepatitis A outbreaks will continue to occur worldwide, she said, and a local outbreak could occur again.

The 2016 outbreak happened in August and the source was identified as raw scallops served at Genki Sushi restaurants throughout the islands. As of HDOH’s latest Jan. 11 update, the source was based in Oahu.

Vaccine manufacturers estimate more than 100,000 doses of Hepatitis A vaccine were distributed throughout Hawaii during the following months.

Between July and November, according to the Hawaii Immunization Registry, 90,259 doses were administered.

On Kauai, pharmacists said they were particularly busy administering vaccines in connection with the outbreak. At Safeway in Lihue, for instance, the primary technician told TGI in August about 50 shots were administered every day for the first three days after the HDOH announcement.

“The response from the community during the outbreak was tremendous,” said state health director Virginia Pressler. “Healthcare providers, including pharmacists, played a key role in ensuring Hepatitis A vaccine was available for those needing and wanting to be vaccinated.”

Genki Sushi closed stores on Oahu and Kauai and began disinfecting after the discovery. The Kauai store reopened Sept. 16, one week after DOH gave the chain the OK.

According to that update, there were 292 confirmed cases of Hepatitis A associated with the outbreak. Three of those cases were located on Kauai.

In September, about 80 of those individuals filed class-action lawsuits against Genki Sushi and two distributors with the Honolulu firm Starn O’Toole Marcus & Fisher, in partnership with foodborne illness lawyer Bill Marler.

One of those individuals lives on Kauai, according to Marler.

HDOH recommends those who are due for their second dose of the Hepatitis A vaccine to contact their health provider or pharmacy and set up an appointment. The department recommends those who were vaccinated at a pharmacy return to the same location.


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