Who should get the vaccination?
All food handlers* in Saint Louis County will need to be vaccinated against hepatitis A.
Are the shots safe?
There are no significant side effects from the vaccination.
How effective is it?
The vaccine for hepatitis A, which has been available since 1996, is very effective in controlling hepatitis A. Vaccination of food handlers should eliminate transmission of hepatitis A by food handlers in Saint Louis County within a year’s time.
Who will pay for it?
The ordinance doesn’t specify who should pay; that is up to the individual and his or her employer.
Will anyone be exempted from getting the vaccination?
The requirement will not apply to women while they are pregnant, persons who object because of religious beliefs or because of medical contraindications verified in writing by a physician. Day care homes and day nurseries where no potentially hazardous food is served (other than milk or juice in prepackaged containers for individual consumption) are exempt from the requirement.
Do new employees have to be vaccinated before they can start work?
There is a two week grace period from the start of employment for the person to certify either immunity or vaccination.
How will this be enforced?
This ordinance is an amendment to the Saint Louis County Restaurant Code (Chapter 807 SLCRO 1974), which the Saint Louis County Department of Health enforces. Foodservice employers will keep written records to document their compliance with the hepatitis A vaccination requirement.
How long has this law been in place?
The ordinance became effective six months after the date of enactment. (June, 2000)
Where can people get the vaccinations?
Individuals may go to their own health care providers; or visit the county health centers listed on Immunization information.
*Definition of food handler in Bill No. 473, 1999 Section 807.305.3:
“For purposes of this section, 'food handler' shall mean a person who is employed by any person or entity in any capacity which requires the preparation, handling or touching of any food (except uncut produce), utensils, serving items or kitchen or serving area surfaces or materials, in a place where food that is intended for individual service and consumption is routinely provided completely prepared, regardless of whether consumption is on or off the premises and regardless of whether there is a charge for the food. Such places include restaurants, hospital cafeterias, school and nursing home kitchens, day care facilities, residential group homes, caterers, banquet facilities, coffee shops, cafeterias, short order cafes, luncheonettes, taverns, sandwich stands, soda fountains, food vending carts and all other eating or drinking establishments, as well as kitchens, commissaries or other places in which food or drink is prepared for individual sale elsewhere. The term does not include a private home where food is prepared for noncommercial home use, and it does not include the location of food vending machines.”