Mandatory Hepatitis A Vaccination for Food Service Workers


In a letter to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, functioning under the umbrella of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Attorney William Marler is advocating for mandatory vaccination of all food service workers against Hepatitis A. It is noted that a significant proportion of Hepatitis A outbreaks are linked to infected food handlers. This source of infection could be sharply reduced by vaccination. It is a clinical reality that a quarter of Hepatitis A cases are asymptomatic meaning that a food-handler shedding the virus can unknowingly transmit the infection to patrons of restaurants.


In his letter, Mahler noted, “Over the past several years there has been an ongoing outbreak of Hepatitis A in the United States.  As of February 2nd 2023 there have been a total of 44,779 cases with a 61 percent hospitalization and a death toll of 421.  Since the currently outbreak commenced in 2016, 37 states have reported cases to the CDC.


Clark County Nevada implemented mandatory vaccination program for food service workers in 2000, resulting in a significant decline in infection rates with historic lows in 2010.  Subsequent to removal of the mandatory vaccination rule, outbreaks have increased in this entertainment center with many U.S. cases now traced back to Las Vegas.


Attorney Marler point to the Famous Anthony’s cluster in and around Roanoke, VA.  This outbreak involved 49 primary cases with 31 hospitalizations and four fatalities attributed to a single infected cook who circulated among four company restaurants during late August through October 2021.


In many nations, workers in the food industry are obliged to undergo regular sampling for Salmonella and other foodborne infections. Where tuberculosis is prevalent, regular screening of food workers is required.


The benefits of mandatory vaccination against Hepatitis A are self-evident and the request for either CDC to advise or mandate vaccination is strongly supported. William Marler deals constantly with the suffering and losses associated with severe foodborne infections. His approach to the prevention of Hepatitis A and protection of patrons of restaurants and institutions is sincerely in the public interest despite the fact that it may ultimately deprive him of clients.