The Star-Herald

AR Gould Hospital offers hepatitis A vaccines

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Northern Light AR Gould Hospital has announced it is offering vaccines this afternoon, Monday, May 20, to those who may need it following identification of an infected worker at Burger Boy in Caribou.

The Presque Isle facility, as well as Cary Medical Center in Caribou, have vaccine doses on hand with more expected. AR Gould personnel are administering shots at Walk-In Care on North Street.  

The Maine Centers for Disease Control announced on Friday that patrons who ate at Burger Boy in Caribou between April 23 and May 13 may have been exposed and at risk for contracting Hepatitis A.

Once exposed, there is a window of 14 days during which a person can be vaccinated. After that the treatment is no longer effective.  Given the tight timeframe for treatment, both Northern Light AR Gould Hospital and Cary Medical Center provided vaccines on Saturday until their supplies were exhausted.  AR Gould provided approximately 235 shots on Saturday at their Walk-In Care center in Presque Isle.

“We just received an order of 400 adult vaccines and will have another 500 doses arriving tomorrow,” said Michael Michaud, director of pharmacy at the Presque Isle hospital.  “We also have pediatric doses in stock and have shared some with Cary Medical Center to supplement their supply as well. More pediatric doses will also be arriving tomorrow.”

“Even those who are outside of the 14-day window are encouraged to get the vaccine,” said Thomas Macharia, MD, an infectious disease specialist at AR Gould Hospital.  “It does no harm to get it, and there is a chance it would still be helpful since people can become symptomatic up to 50 days after exposure.”

Symptoms of Hepatitis A that people should watch for include:  abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, joint pain, yellow skin, itching or clay colored stools.  Those displaying these symptoms should see their primary care provider.

Since 2010, children between the ages of 12-18 months normally get Hep A vaccinations as part of their regular vaccination schedule, hospital officials said. Unless a parent has opted not to have their child vaccinated, they should already be covered.  Parents who are unsure of their child’s record can call their primary care provider to verify shot information.

Both hospitals will continue to provide vaccines until all of those who may have been exposed are treated.

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