Rush for Hepatitis A Vaccine After Case at Montgomery Panera

The clock is ticking for anyone who ate at the Panera Bread in Montgomery on Carter Hill Road.  The Alabama Department of Public Health says anyone who ate there, dine-in or pickup, between January 26th and February 5th needs to get the Hepatitis A vaccine as soon as possible.  The Health Department says a food handler at that store is infected with the Hepatitis A virus.

“I ate at Panera Bread on Carter Hill Road, five or six times between the time period that was mentioned by the health department,” explained customer Sarah Bell.

She spent part of her Monday trying to find a pharmacy or doctor with available Hepatitis A vaccines.  She found out about the confirmed case at Panera Bread on Carter Hill Road Friday night, but says there was not much she could do over the weekend.

“None of the pharmacies I called had the vaccine in stock and said they would order it and should have it in by Monday,” she shared.

Logan Waters with Adams Drugs says they had a limited supply Monday morning and that was quickly promised out to appointments.  More arrived Monday afternoon.  Now they’re stressing that anyone needing the vaccine should call ahead to make an appointment.

“You have a two week window in which the vaccine is highly effective at preventing you from becoming sick,” Waters shared.

She says the symptoms can be similar to the flu, nausea, upset stomach, fever, and often times you don’t know you have it until you’re contagious.

“Highly contagious so anytime you’re handling food service products there’s a lot of occasion for germs to be passed,” she added.

Panera Bread sent Alabama News Network the following statement:

“The health and safety of guests and associates is our top priority. We follow strict food safety policies and procedures. Out of an abundance of caution, we proactively closed the cafe early to undergo a deep cleaning upon learning of the illness. We are offering vaccinations for all associates in this cafe and are working closely with the Health Department to take all recommended steps. We encourage guests with questions to contact us at 1-855-3-PANERA.”

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