Hundreds of people stood in line for another 90 minutes to receive a free hepatitis A vaccine after Somerset County issued a warning on Monday.
Bob Makin, @ReporterBMakin

SOMERVILLE – One day after my birthday, I received the call.

"Hello, this is Somerville, New Jersey's ShopRite, which is calling with an important health message," the robot woman told me. "The New Jersey Department of Health has recently informed us that an employee of the deli department of the business suffers from hepatitis A." We contact you because our Price Plus Club records show you or someone in your household who has bought sliced ​​deli meats, cheeses or sandwiches at the Deli shop in Somerville between October 13th and 30th – the period in the employee was probably contagious. "

Great. Happy Birthday.

The line for free hepatitis A shots was extended to 450 feet in the Somerset Health Ministry on Thursday. (Photo: ~ Mike Deak / Staff)

So on Thursday I waited 90 minutes in line for a free hepatitis A vaccine.

A man left the house after receiving the vaccine and jokingly said, "Everyone who wants the shot in the butt takes precedence!"

That was a bit weird in a timid situation.

Somerset County announced that there would be free hepatitis A vaccines for those who might have come in contact with potentially contaminated foods.

This has been great news, bearing in mind that the vaccine – which requires two doses every six months for long-term efficacy – could cost anywhere between $ 60 and $ 300.

I did not know My cut Cajun chicken breast and Munster cheese would land me in line on a football field.

My colleague Cheryl and I initially decided to meet at around 1:00 pm at the Somerset Department of Health. Wednesday. Not a long way, considering that the county health department is on the other side of the car park.

We waited in line for about 15 or 20 minutes before being offered a priority pass for the following day.

The vaccines should be delivered by 8pm Wednesday and Thursday. Shortly after we left the board on Wednesday, we found out in a press release that the free recordings would be cut at 16:30. due to an "overwhelming public response".

We decided to assemble our reporter noggins and appeared on Thursday half an hour before noon to crack the queue, which was a good idea – but the approximately 250 others already waiting had the same line.

READ: Hepatitis A on ShopRite: Hundreds Out on Free Vaccines in Somerville

Even with our Priority runs, the whole process lasted from 11:30 to 13:00 Clock (To be fair, the doors did not open until noon) Although the line was longer on early Thursday afternoon, it seemed to be moving faster and smoother than the line on Wednesday.

The wait was bearable because I had talked to people I would never have met without our common needs the vaccine. I made friends with a friendly couple from Bound Brook and another woman who had just moved to Raritan County.

We've talked about topics ranging from our favorite restaurants to infectious diseases and vaccines. We regretted that we were all victims of bad luck – that could have happened anywhere and to anyone.

READ: Free Hepatitis A Vaccines Offered After Somerville ShopRite Infected Deli Worker

The Somerset County Health Department Workers in the building have done a good job of calming everyone down and to organize the lines as well as possible, since the whole operation was quickly thrown together under the given circumstances.

In the end, the shot was not so bad – just a daily stab in the arm.

However, I plan to get a second dose in six months that will give me long term immunity. Yesterday, Nikolaos Pyrsopoulos, director of gastroenterology and hepatology at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, told me that "optimally two shots are required, but one shot may provide post exposure protection."

The vaccine was the reason why I left, but in the end I have a memory that I will have for a lifetime.

Staff Writer Nick Muscavage is an award-winning watchdog reporter whose work covers many topics and has helped to create a state law. Contact him: 908-243-6615; [email protected]; @nmuscavage.

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