Scores line up for Hep A vaccine after likely source of outbreak is revealed

What you need to know about the hepatitis A vaccination

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Pharmacies on Oahu saw long lines for the Hepatitis A vaccine Tuesday, a day after state health officials identified raw scallops served at Genki Sushi restaurants as the source of a Hepatitis A outbreak.

Health experts recommend anyone who dined at a Genki Sushi restaurant in the last two weeks get a vaccine, regardless of what they ate.

But beyond two weeks, "getting vaccinated or immune globulin won't help," said state epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park. "So if you ate there in the last two weeks, consult your doctor immediately."

Park says if you ate at the sushi chain in the last 50 days, you should be on the lookout for Hepatitis A symptoms, including fatigue, dark urine, loss of appetite, yellowness of skin or diarrhea.

We spoke with a woman who went to the pharmacy Tuesday to get vaccinated. She dined at the Kapahulu Genki Sushi location last week, and although she didn't order any scallops, she said you can never be too careful.

"I ate spicy ahi, but what if they touched the scallops and touched my spicy ahi?" she said.

Alana Isobe, Safeway pharmacy manager, said cross-contamination is a possibility.

"People that handled the scallops with the same gloves may have handled the next product, so unknowingly they probably cross-contaminated some of the other items at Genki Sushi," she said.

The vaccination line inside Longs Drugs in the Pearl Highlands area wrapped around several isles Tuesday evening.

By 7 p.m., staff reported they ran out of syringes and told customers who hadn't already had a chance to sign up to come back on Wednesday.

Health experts say a hepatitis A vaccination is just like your typical flu shot. It only takes about five seconds for a lifetime of protection.

But you do need two doses of the vaccine. "One shot now, then 6 to 12 months later you would get a booster shot," said Isobe.

If you don't remember if you've already been vaccinated, Isobe says it doesn't hurt to get it again.

Another question is who should get vaccinated? Health experts say everyone, except those allergic to the hepatitis A vaccine.

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