HED: Roll up your sleeve, again
Lede In: New Albany residents urged to bring children in for hepatitis A booster vaccinations
By Jane Hill
NEW ALBANY -State and local health officials are asking the parents of all children who received hepatitis A vaccinations last month to bring the children back for their boosters.
The appeal was made after some of the children who received their first vaccination in February did not return during the two days set aside this week by the county health department for giving hepatitis booster shots.
Dana Hartley, supervising nurse for the Mississippi Department of Health District Office in Tupelo, said that during the first wave of vaccinations given in February, 265 children under the age of 18 received their first hepatitis A vaccination.
As of Thursday, only 185 children had come in to get their second shot, she said.
The Union County Health Department will continue to give the booster vaccinations to children for the next two weeks during regular office hours 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, according to June Briggs, the coordinating nurse for Union County.
Residents of the “target area” of the city were asked to come to the health department last month to be vaccinated against the disease free of charge. The target area was selected based on where the city’s 19 cases of the mildest form of hepatitis were confirmed. Almost 1,000 people received their vaccinations at that time.
The vaccination saturation method has been used in Tunica County and other areas of the state to keep hepatitis from spreading.
Since January, no new cases have been confirmed in New Albany, Hartley said.
To protect against hepatitis A infection, children under 18 must receive a series of three shots: the first, a second in a month and a third six months after the second.
Adults must receive two shots before being fully vaccinated; the first and then a second six months later.
Under this schedule, adults who were vaccinated in February should receive their next shot in August and the last in the children’s series of shots should be administered in September.
Hepatitis A is a relatively mild form of hepatitis compared to its far more dangerous cousin, hepatitis B, which can cause severe liver damage or death. However, hepatitis A can pose a danger to adults who have heart, lung or liver disease or to alcoholics who have cirrhosis of the liver.