TEXAS: Hepatitis scare escalates health department debate
Posted: September 20th, 2011 - 3:36pm
LUBBOCK, TX -- More than 2,500 people who may have been exposed to the hepatitis A virus were vaccinated this weekend, about half the number the Lubbock Health Department expected.
The City of Lubbock agreed to reimburse University Medical Center $260,000 for the cost of the vaccine, but after this low turnout, the city has thousands of vaccines left over.
"We are discussing in six months having a second shot clinic, because there is really a second shot requirement to have full immunity," City of Lubbock Health Department Director Bridget Faulkenberry said.
The health department estimated more than 7,700 people were exposed at Cheddar's between Aug. 31 and Sept. 8. The city may consider having vaccines available at the health department for people who didn't go to the clinics.
The city is planning to use money from the general fund to pay back UMC.
This scare comes after weeks of heated debate about the closing of the Lubbock Health Department.
In just one week, the Health Coalition of Lubbock has collected nearly 1,600 signatures on a petition dedicated to keeping the health department open.
One of the coalition members, Psychologist Brian Carr, says closing the Health Department would be detrimental to the public's health.