Hepatitis inoculations get much more Friendly

What a difference a weekend makes.

The hepatitis A inoculation clinic held by Arlington health officials yesterday went a lot smoother than Friday's when thousands waited hours in the drizzle to be treated.

"After Friday, we sat down with everyone involved in the planning and decided we lacked some signage and we also made it easier access for the elderly, the handicapped and people with children," said Arlington Deputy Fire Chief Wayne Springer.

"We also placed chairs along the line and the Red Cross provided free bottled water,'' he said. ``And there wasn't any rain, so that helped."

By late afternoon, Springer said about 500 people were inoculated and the longest wait was a little more than an hour.

On Friday, more than 3,000 Friendly's patrons mobbed the clinic, which was prepared to administer 2,300 doses.

Friendly's estimated that as many as 4,000 patrons ate at its Arlington restaurant between June 4 and June 15. That put them at risk for hepatitis A exposure from a worker who was diagnosed with the virus.

Health officials said patrons who ate cold or uncooked foods, such as ice cream, salad or rolls, could be at risk for developing hepatitis A, the mildest form of the strain.