HORSEHEADS, N.Y. (WETM) – Free Hepatitis A vaccinations continue today at the Elmira-Corning Regional Airport after a potential exposure of the virus was discovered last week.
An employee of the Dunkin Donuts in Elmira Heights and the location in Walmart tested positive for Hepatitis A after working at the locations on February 9 and February 11. The Schuyler County resident worked at the locations while infected. As a precaution, the Chemung County Health Department is encouraging anyone who frequented the locations on those dates to get a free vaccine this weekend.
“I was nervous and confuesed because I honestly don’t know much about it,” Karilyn Rutledge said. “I didn’t know how easily it could be spread. I just went through the drive thru that one day.”
Hepatitis A is a viral infection that can spread quickly. Symptoms include fever, abdominal pain, fatigue, nausea and vomiting. Even if you are not showing symptoms, officials say you should get vaccinated.
How can you register for a vaccine?
“I just called the health department and they set the appointment,” Larry Piper added.
“I am not super concerned. I was notified through my employer that this was something I should do to keep myself safe,” Erik Rominger said.
They are also taking some walk-in appointments if you believe you were exposed. Health experts have a word of caution though: If you received the COVID-19 vaccine within the last 14 days, you are asked to wait to received the Hepatitis A vaccine.
“If you have another vaccine trying to build immunity at the same time, it sometimes hinders the full effect and the optimal response that you would expect from each vaccine,” Tina Brackman, an Infection Prevention Expert with Guthrie Health, told 18 News.
“I was scheduled to get a shot for the COVID vaccine, but now that I have to do this [receive the Hepatitis A vaccine], I can’t get the COVID vaccine,” Piper continued. “It makes me feel a little bit frustrated because they [COVID vaccines] are hard to get.”
The Hepatitis A vaccination clinic is open Sunday, February 21 from 12-3 p.m. at the Elmira-Corning Regional Airport at 17 Aviation Drive in Horseheads.