Get 36% Off on Vitamins D3 and K2 90-Day Supply Get 36% Off on Vitamins D3 and K2 90-Day Supply

ADVERTISEMENT

New mandates for hepatitis A vaccine

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

new mandates for hepatitis a vaccine

Story at-a-glance -

  • Franklin County, Missouri, has made it mandatory for food handlers to receive a hepatitis A vaccination
  • The commission order, dated July 30, 2019, gave 90 days for all currently employed food handlers to get vaccinated, and gave two weeks for new hires to get a hepatitis A shot
  • Food service workers are included among the groups federal public health officials state do NOT need routine vaccination against hepatitis A
  • While hepatitis A can be spread via contaminated food or water, most outbreaks in the U.S. are caused by infections spread from person to person during drug use or other high-risk activities
  • The move signals a concerning and growing trend toward expanding mandatory vaccination regulations and laws that violate the informed consent rights of people, not to mention putting their ability to continue working in certain livelihoods at risk

Franklin County, Missouri, has made it mandatory for food handlers to receive a hepatitis A vaccination. The commission order, dated July 30, 2019, gave 90 days for all currently employed food handlers to get vaccinated, and gave two weeks for new hires to get a hepatitis A shot.1

While the order states that a food handler may decline to be vaccinated, if they do so, they will be restricted from “working with exposed food, clean equipment, utensils, linens and unwrapped single-service and single-use articles,”2 which makes it likely they could no longer work in their former food handling role.

While the move is said to be part of ongoing efforts to curb the spread of hepatitis A, a contagious but typically self-limiting liver infection, it signals a concerning and growing trend toward expanding mandatory vaccination regulations and laws that violate the informed consent rights of people, not to mention putting their ability to continue working in certain livelihoods at risk.

Mandates for hepatitis A vaccine continue

Franklin County, Missouri, is only the latest county to mandate hepatitis A vaccine for food handlers. St. Louis County, Missouri, and Ashland and Boyd Counties in Kentucky, already have such mandates in place.3

Similar to other vaccine mandates as a condition for employment, like influenza vaccines for health care workers, requiring a food service worker to get vaccinated in order to keep his or her job violates the human right to informed consent to medical risk taking, including the right to make a voluntary decision about use of vaccines carrying a risk of injury, death or failure, without being punished for the decision made.

In 2019, the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) monitored more than 500 vaccine-related bills and actively reported on more than 200 bills introduced in 40 state legislatures that proposed to expand, restrict or eliminate vaccine informed consent rights.4

In the wake of hepatitis A outbreaks that have occurred in the U.S., attorney Bill Marler, of food safety law firm Marler Clark, went so far as to offer chain restaurants the chance to vaccinate their employees in exchange for not being sued. Marler wrote:5

“So, here is my offer — to the first restaurant chain with more that 250 locations (corporate and/or franchise) that will offer hepatitis A vaccinations to all present and future employees and I will agree to consult with that restaurant chain for $1.00 and conflict Marler Clark from being on the opposite side of the courtroom. This seems like an “offer you can’t refuse.”

Are vaccine mandates the answer to curbing hepatitis A?

Hepatitis A is highly contagious, and it can be spread by eating or drinking something contaminated with even tiny amounts of fecal matter from an infected person. As such, food handlers infected with hepatitis A, who don’t wash their hands thoroughly after using the bathroom, could potentially contaminate any food or other items handled and spread the infection to co-workers or customers.

Hepatitis A outbreaks linked to restaurants certainly have occurred, including one recently reported at a McDonald’s in Tennessee, where an infected employee potentially exposed about 500 customers to hepatitis A.6 However, being a food handler does not increase the risk of hepatitis A, nor is eating in a restaurant one of the major risk factors for getting this infection.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Infections in the United States result primarily from travel to another country where hepatitis A virus transmission is common, close personal contact with infected persons, sex among men who have sex with men, and behaviors associated with injection drug use.”7 As for who is at an increased risk of hepatitis A, this includes, according to the CDC:8

Persons with direct contact with persons who have hepatitis A

Travelers to countries with high or intermediate endemicity of HAV infection

Men who have sex with men

Users of injection and non-injection drugs

Persons with clotting factor disorders

Persons working with nonhuman primates

Household members and other close personal contacts of adopted children newly arriving from countries with high or intermediate hepatitis A endemicity

Advertisement
Get Over 40% Off on Select Items Daily	Get Over 40% Off on Select Items Daily

CDC doesn’t recommend hepatitis A vaccine for food workers

Food service workers are included among the groups the CDC states do NOT need routine vaccination against hepatitis A, because, they state, “Foodborne hepatitis A outbreaks are relatively uncommon in the United States.”9 As for why they do not recommend that all food handlers get hepatitis A vaccinations, the CDC states:10

“CDC does not recommend vaccinating all food handlers because doing so would not prevent or stop the ongoing outbreaks primarily affecting individuals who report using or injecting drugs and people experiencing homelessness.

Food handlers are not at increased risk for hepatitis A because of their occupation. During ongoing outbreaks, transmission from food handlers to restaurant patrons has been extremely rare because standard sanitation practices of food handlers help prevent the spread of the virus.”

The New York State Department of Health echoes this sentiment, adding that only 2% to 3% of hepatitis A cases are acquired through eating hepatitis A contaminated restaurant food. Further, vaccinating restaurant staff may be impractical in some cases, they note, because of the high turnover rate of employees in the food service industry.

What’s more, “Emphasis on careful hand washing, use of disposable gloves and not working when ill are measures that can greatly minimize the risk of spreading hepatitis A and a number of other infections”11 — without the need for mandated hepatitis A vaccinations.

Hepatitis A does not lead to chronic infection

Unlike hepatitis B and C, which can become chronic, hepatitis A does not lead to chronic infection. In fact, in most cases symptoms resolve on their own within two months of hepatitis A infection.12 Symptoms, which may develop a few weeks after exposure, include:13

Fatigue

Nausea and vomiting

Abdominal pain, especially by your liver (upper right side beneath your lower ribs)

Clay-colored bowel movements

Loss of appetite

Low-grade fever

Dark urine

Joint pain

Yellowing of the skin and whites of your eyes (jaundice)

Itching

Some people with hepatitis A develop no symptoms at all or develop only mild symptoms that disappear in a few weeks. While hepatitis A can, rarely, cause liver failure and death, the CDC notes, “Most people who get hepatitis A feel sick for several weeks, but they usually recover completely and do not have lasting liver damage.”14

Status of US hepatitis A outbreaks

Between late 2016 and August 23, 2019, there have been 24,688 cases of hepatitis A (mostly among at-risk groups15) reported in the U.S., including 14,800 hospitalizations and 240 deaths.16 While hepatitis A can be spread via contaminated food or water, most outbreaks in the U.S. are caused by infections spread from person to person. The CDC considers high risk groups to be:17

  • People who use drugs
  • People experiencing homelessness
  • Men who have sex with men
  • People with liver disease
  • People who are or were recently in jail or prison

Despite this, while the CDC recommends children receive two doses of the hepatitis A vaccine between their first and second birthdays, and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recently recommended expanding the use of hepatitis A vaccine for all children and adolescents aged 2 through 18 years.18

ACIP also recommended that people with HIV (aged 1 year and older) should be routinely vaccinated with hepatitis A vaccine, even though research suggests the effectiveness is much lower in this population. One study found hepatitis A vaccine to be effective only 48% of the time in HIV-positive patients.19

It’s also important to understand that while infection with hepatitis A is thought to provide lifelong protection against the disease,20 it’s unknown how long the protection offered via hepatitis A vaccine lasts. According to NVIC:21

“The duration of immunity following hepatitis A vaccine is unknown. A 2017 published study reviewing the antibody levels of 52 hepatitis A vaccine recipients found that 88.5 percent had measurable antibody levels after 20 years.22

It is important to note that while protection from hepatitis A infection may be related to the presence of antibodies, the lowest levels of antibody protection is not known.”

Informed consent is your right

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opened at Disneyland Resort in California on May 31, 2019, and a small group of “freedom fighters” staged a protest against forced vaccinations outside the entrance.

Public demonstrations like these against forced vaccination policies and laws are increasingly common because there is an ongoing effort by government officials, medical trade groups, online platforms and mainstream media outlets to shut down all public conversations about vaccine risks and failures, as an increasing number of vaccinations are added to the recommended childhood vaccine schedule and vaccine mandates for adults — like hepatitis A vaccine for food handlers — become more widespread. According to Barbara Loe Fisher, cofounder and president of NVIC:23

“For children born in America in 1983, the federal government recommended 23 doses of seven vaccines given between two months and six years old.

Today, the child vaccination schedule is 69 doses of 16 vaccines given between the day of birth and age 18, with 50 doses administered before age six, at a current price tag of more than $3,000 per child … For children born in America in the years to come, that vaccine list and cost could double or triple.

The World Health Organization is encouraging drug companies to fast track more than a dozen new ‘priority’ vaccines to market for children, pregnant women and adults — and you can be sure industry will lobby governments to mandate all of them — respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), streptococcus A & B, HIV, herpes simplex virus, gonorrhea, e-coli, shigella, salmonella, tuberculosis, malaria and more.

Where is the scientific evidence to support the assumption that forcing everyone to use more and more vaccines to atypically manipulate our immune systems and repeatedly provoke inflammatory responses in our bodies throughout life will produce better health for all?”

This is precisely the point, and the reason why the freedom to exercise informed consent to vaccine use is a human right — one that should be protected, like freedom of thought, speech and conscience, which define the civil liberties upon which the U.S. was founded. When vaccines are mandated in order for you to hold a job, your freedom is being threatened and taken from you.