MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. — The Manatee County Department of Health said out of an abundance of caution they are offering free hepatitis A vaccines.
Officials said the vaccines are free to the public but urge anyone who visited the Ugly Grouper on Holmes Beach before June 22 to get a vaccination, if you weren’t previously vaccinated.
“It is highly unlikely it could be spread,” Tom Iovino the Director of Communications for the Manatee County Department of Health said. “Also, (we) want to emphasize in the state of Florida fewer than 5% of hepatitis A cases have been found in food handlers. And there has been no direct links between a food handler and a patron of any restaurant.”
The most effective way to prevent hepatitis A is to be vaccinated against it. Hundreds of people lined up on Friday to do just that.
“It’s very scary,” Patty Duck said. We talked to Duck after she got a free vaccination at Anna Maria Elementary school.
“There’s no point in taking a chance if we can get a little shot and be done with it,” Duck said. “It didn’t hurt at all, not a thing and my husband didn’t cry.”
In a recent Facebook post, the Ugly Grouper alerted customers to the health advisory writing, “thankfully, that team member has been treated, and we wish them a speedy recovery at home. At The Ugly Grouper, we take food safety very seriously. As a precautionary measure, on that same evening, we instituted a 12-hour deep cleaning process of the entire restaurant. The following morning at 10 a.m., the Health Department confirmed our current practices meet all cleanliness and operational compliance standards. Vaccinations were also offered to the entire staff by the Health Department, which were accepted by all to ensure the continued safety of our staff and patrons.”
On Saturday, July 6, there will be another free clinic at the Manatee County Health Department from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The address is 410 6th Avenue East in Bradenton.