Bedford woman says she was turned away from getting hep-A vaccine amid outbreak

BEDFORD, Ind. – As the number of hepatitis A cases continues to climb in Lawrence County, hundreds of Hoosiers are lining up to get their vaccines and the health department is overwhelmed. One woman says she was turned away because of it.

“Everyone is pretty much panicking about it,” said Bedford resident Chelsea Brooks.

This comes after yet another Lawrence County restaurant worker was diagnosed with hepatitis A, the fourth employee in two months.

This week, it was an employee at the Papa John’s in Mitchell. Last week, Mama’s restaurant, and before that a Bedford Burger King employee.

“You cannot eat anywhere or go anywhere without worrying if this is going to be on the news tomorrow for them having a hepatitis positive employee,” said Brooks.

Amid the ongoing and growing hep-A outbreak, Brooks says she stopped into the Lawrence County Health Department to get a vaccine.

“I was told at the front desk that my insurance requires an authorization and that she did not have time to do that so she would not be giving me the vaccination. I wanted to protect myself and others and I do not want hepatitis,” said Brooks.

The Lawrence County Health Department officer Dr. Alan Smith tells me he is looking into the allegations. He says the department has been extremely busy and just last week the department had to ask the state to send 500 more vaccines to keep up with demand…but Smith says turning people away is against their policy.

Dr. Smith says he would like to see all food service workers in the county vaccinated before they are hired, but says people need to focus on cleanliness in their restaurants right now.

If you'd like to file a complaint with Dr. Smith, call the Lawrence County Health Department at 812-275-3234 and ask for him.