Camden County will give residents another opportunity to get a hepatitis A vaccine after a local Starbucks employee recently tested positive for the virus.
A clinic will open Wednesday at the Camden County Health Hub at 200 College Drive in Blackwood.
The exact number of people exposed to hepatitis A at the Starbucks at 1490 Blackwood Clementon Road in Gloucester Township Gloucester is not known. However, county spokesman Dan Keashen told NJ Advance Media that the health department “estimates it to be somewhere in the thousands.” As of Monday, no other individuals have tested positive for hepatitis A, Keashen said.
The county was notified last week that the staff member worked through the infection period of the virus. They are advising costumers that purchased food or drinks from the cafe on Nov. 4, 5, 6, 11, 12 or 13 to get the hepatitis A vaccine either through the county clinic or their own doctor.
Two doses of the hepatitis A vaccine are required to be fully inoculated, although the efficacy rate of a single dose is over 94%, according to the CDC. The county inoculated over 800 people during hepatitis A vaccine clinics Friday and Saturday.
“That’s a pretty good start,” said Keashen. “We’ve estimated the patron population exposed to be somewhere in the thousands but there’s a lot of people already vaccinated. Anyone born (after 2000) has likely already been vaccinated and doesn’t need another dose. So that’s why we recommend people call their primary care physician or pediatrician first.”
Keashen said the county will assess after Wednesday’s clinic if it will open for additional appointments. The clinic will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on a first come first serve basis.
Residents should receive the vaccine as soon as possible but no later than 14 days after contact.
Officials inspected the Gloucester store last week and determined no evidence of food safety violations, the county said. The store was closed and was not reopened until all the employees were vaccinated.
Camden County Health Officer Paschal Nwako previously said that close contacts of the Starbucks employee who tested positive for hepatitis A were identified.
A Starbucks spokeswoman said Monday afternoon that she did not have the total number of people exposed to the employee who tested positive for hepatitis A. She noted that “there is no evidence” any customers or additional stores were impacted by the positive case.
“The health and safety of our partners and communities is and will continue to be our priority. We are working closely with the Camden County Health Department and are fully in compliance with all requirements,” the Starbucks spokeswoman said.
Hepatitis A is usually spread when a person ingests fecal matter, even in microscopic amounts, from contact with objects, food, or drinks contaminated by the feces or stool of an infected person.
Hepatitis A typically only causes a mild illness that lasts a few weeks, according to the CDC. In severe cases, illness can last a few months and in extremely rare cases, the virus can be fatal. Those with existing liver conditions are particularly at risk.