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.