Vaccine clinics offered after possible exposure to Hepatitis A a - KPTV - FOX 12

Vaccine clinics offered after possible exposure to Hepatitis A at Sandy movie theater

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Sandy resident Kevin Afrank, getting his Hepatitis A vaccine Tuesday. Sandy resident Kevin Afrank, getting his Hepatitis A vaccine Tuesday.
SANDY, OR (KPTV) -

People who may have been exposed to the Hepatitis A virus at a Sandy movie theater are getting vaccines through three public health clinics this week.

Roughly 150 people showed up to the first clinic Tuesday evening.  The next two will be Wednesday and Thursday from 6:30-9:00 p.m. at the Legacy Medical Firwood clinic on Industrial Way in Sandy.  Nobody will be turned away for their inability to pay.

An employee at Sandy Cinema was diagnosed with Hepatitis A earlier this month after working in the theater’s concession area.  The discovery launched a public health alert for potentially thousands of people who ate or drank from the concession stand during specific dates and times when the employee was working:

February 12th from 11:00 a.m. to closing

February 13th from 6:00 p.m. to closing,

February 14th from 2:00 p.m. to closing,

February 15th from: 1:30 p.m. to closing.

“We went Valentine’s Day for our special day, and it turned out very special for us,” said Earlene Cunningham. “We got an extra Valentine’s prize, you know, so we came to get our shot.”

“We were out for a fun day and then that occurred, so we were kind of shocked, had to do some reading on Hepatitis A,” Cunningham’s daughter-in-law, Rhonda Harris, added.

Public health experts say the risk of infection is low, but getting the vaccine within two weeks of potential exposure can cut your risk of developing the disease by 85-90%.

The contagious disease, which can cause liver failure, is rare in the U.S. with only about 1,000 reported cases in the country.

In Oregon, school-age children are required to be vaccinated against it.

“I imagine this could happen anywhere,” said Kevin Afrank, one of many people who got the vaccine at Tuesday’s clinic.

Benjamin Taylor and Chela Harring received good news at the vaccination clinic: it turns out they were not exposed.

“They told us we weren’t at risk,” Harring explained.  “[We] went in [to the theater] in the morning and the risk time was in the evening, so we were good to go.”

Hepatitis A is spread from person to person through a lack of hand washing after using the bathroom or changing diapers, or by eating food handled by an infected person.

“I know it has affected a lot of people, including the movie theater,” said Dr. Sarah Present, the Clackamas County Public Health Officer.  “And I know, everything is safe and there is no further risk at this time.”

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