Education

Hepatitis A vaccine required for school next fall. Kids might need 1st dose by February.

Under a new state regulation all Kentucky students must have proof of having the Hepatitis A vaccine by the first day of school. In Fayette County, that is Aug. 15, 2018.

But Fayette school officials are sending out an extra reminder: The first in the series of two doses should be given in January or February in order to be compliant by August 15, said district Health and Wellness Coordinator Debbie Boian.

Every student in Kentucky will be required to show proof of a Hepatitis A vaccine. Parents should contact their pediatrician or healthcare provider and ask if their child has received the Hepatitis A vaccine.

If children have not received the vaccine, Boian said, parents should make an appointment to get the vaccinations. Hepatitis A doses have to be spaced six months apart, so getting in by mid-February will help students receive both doses prior to the start of school.

If students have received the vaccine, parents should request a new immunization form from the physician’s office showing the dates the shots were given.

If the physician’s office participates in the Kentucky Immunization Registry the school nurse can print a vaccination certificate off the registry.

In addition to the Hepatitis A vaccine, students 16 and older are required to provide proof of having had the Meningococcal ACWY vaccine.

Boian said the vaccines have been studied and are safe.

“A student who misses school due to a serious illness struggles to regain the time lost in instruction. Our goal is to promote good health and provide parents with information to assist them in keeping their children healthy,” said Boian.

She said Fayette County Schools officials are encouraging employees to get the vaccine as well.

In late November, the Kentucky Department for Public Health declared an outbreak of acute Hepatitis A with cases in several counties in Kentucky. Fayette County has not reported any cases in the latest outbreak but has had one case in 2017, said Cabinet for Health and Family Services spokeswoman Beth Fisher

As of Friday, throughout Kentucky, the total number of cases of Hepatitis A for 2017 is 52.

The total statewide number for the recent outbreak is 44, Fisher said.

Valarie Honeycutt Spears: 859-231-3409, @vhspears

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