Statement from the New York State Department of Health
ALBANY, N.Y. (Feb. 11, 2008) - Contrary to some published reports about the need to get vaccinated if individuals handled, but did not eat potentially contaminated food, public health experts stress that many research studies have shown that people who got sick with Hepatitis A ate contaminated food. However, reports of illness rarely occur when people only handled contaminated food. Hepatitis A infection occurs after the virus enters the mouth. If the contaminated food is not consumed, it is unlikely that enough virus will enter the mouth, through finger-to-mouth contact, to cause illness.
While the Hepatitis A vaccine is extremely safe, health experts don't recommend vaccination when the risk of infection is lower than even the very minor risk of vaccine side effects.