Hundreds scramble for free hep A shots in New Jersey county

Hundreds of people waited outside the Somerset (N.J.) County Department of Health for a free hepatitis A shot Nov. 6, forcing the county to close the walk-in clinic early due to an "overwhelming public demand," according to NJ.com.

The health department offered free vaccinations after a local deli worker with the virus handled food at a grocery store in Somerville, N.J. 

The county administered 550 hepatitis A shots Nov. 6, Nancy Weinman, an administrative assistant for the health department, told NJ.com. The clinic offered free shots again Nov. 7.  

New Jersey has reported 541 hepatitis A cases since Dec. 1, 2018, compared to just 67 cases reported in the previous year, according to a Nov. 2 update from the state's health department. Six people have died in the outbreak. Of 398 cases with available data, 337 required hospitalization. 

Twenty-eight states are experiencing hepatitis A outbreaks, the CDC reports. Kentucky has been hit the hardest, reporting 4,958 cases and 61 deaths as of Oct. 19.  

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