Today was the first day that residents of Lubbock, Texas were able to receive Hepatitis A vaccinations from the Lubbock Health Department as a result of possible exposure to the virus from an infected employee at Cheddar’s Casual Café located at on 4009 S. Loop 289.

The vaccinations became available two days after City officials announced that patrons of the restaurant could have been exposed to the virus. Unfortunately, due to State budget cuts, the health department was forced to find a supplier for the vaccines on their own.

Abby Reed of KCBD NewsChannel 11 reported that:

The Lubbock Health Department worked to secure a supplier, but they had a hard time.  So, University Medical Center stepped in to help.  Greg Bruce with the University Medical Center says the hospital has secured more than 5,000 vaccinations.  One of those shipments was set to arrive Thursday evening.

The price tag for the vaccinations was $256,000.  Bruce says the city and UMC have worked out a payment arrangement. “An inter-local agreement between UMC and the city of Lubbock for them to reimburse us,” Bruce said.

That is a hefty sum for any health department to pay for something that could have been easily prevented by requiring restaurant workers to receive the Hepatitis A vaccine. In a similar case in 2003, Marler Clark attorneys successfully represented the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PDOH) against a Chi Chi’s restaurant in Beaver County, Pennsylvania. Marler Clark received a settlement for PDOH compensating them for the cost of their investigation into the Hepatitis A outbreak as well as the cost of obtaining and administering the Hepatitis A vaccine to those exposed to the virus at Chi Chi’s.

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Photo of Claire Mitchell Claire Mitchell

Claire received her J.D. degree from Hofstra University School of Law with a concentration in Energy and the Environment in May 2010. She received her B.A., majoring in English, from Villanova University, magna cum laude. During law school, Claire served as Articles Editor for the Hofstra Labor & Employment Law Journal, was elected President of the Legal Emergency Aid Project and elected Treasurer of Hofstra Law Women. She is currently pursuing an LL.M. degree in Food and Agricultural Law at the University of Arkansas School of Law. In August 2010, Claire was selected as the recipient of the Marler Clark Graduate Assistantship, part of a new public/private partnership that will allow the University of Arkansas School of Law to partner with leaders in the food and agricultural legal communities. Although she began the LL.M. Program in Fayetteville, Arkansas, Claire is now living in Seattle in order to devote more time to her work at Marler Clark and is completing her LL.M. degree through distance learning. In addition to her academic and professional commitments, Claire blogs on Food Poison Journal and has been published in the Food and Drug Law Institute’s Update and the American Agricultural Law Association’s Update.