Salt Lake Co. board expands hepatitis A vaccine requirements

Hepatitis A

SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake County Board of Health has temporarily amended one of its health regulations to require more food service workers to be vaccinated for hepatitis A following a recent outbreak.

The amendment, which takes effect on February 1, requires all food workers at an establishment to receive the vaccination if any of their coworkers have been in contact with someone infected with hepatitis A.

“Throughout this outbreak, we’ve identified that some people infected with hepatitis A share a household or are otherwise in contact with someone who works at a food service establishment,” explained Gary Edwards, Salt Lake County Health Department executive director, in a statement sent to FOX 13. “When we’ve learned this, we’ve immediately acted to vaccinate all food workers in that same establishment for the protection of the public. This amendment formalizes and codifies that health department response as it relates to food workers.”

Salt Lake County restaurants have 14 days to comply with the temporary amendment and keep official records of employees’ vaccination statuses.

“Each occurrence of an unvaccinated employee handling food or a food-contact surface will be recorded as a critical violation on the establishment’s inspection history, and repeated failure to comply may result in suspension or revocation of the affected food establishment’s permit to operate,” the statement said.

The Salt Lake County Health Department has been authorized to reduce the cost of the first dose of the hepatitis A vaccine by 50 percent for eligible food service workers. The discounted vaccine will be offered at health department immunization clinics for those who can document their employment as food service workers.

Temporary amendments like this one are limited to 120 days, and the Board of Health could engage in a full public notification and hearing process to permanently amend the regulation.