New immunization guidelines will take effect at the start of 2018-2019 school year across the state. While the new policies do not go into effect until the next school year, it is encouraged to start preparing early.
According to a release from Mercer County Schools, students are encouraged to start a Hepatitis A series as early as possible so they can receive a second dose in July once six months have passed. Students must show proof they have received one vaccination prior to the start of the school year, and have a second vaccination scheduled.
In a release from the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, Jonathan Ballard, MD, said a large outbreak of Acute hepatitis A in California contributed to this new policy.
“Most children with hepatitis A infection have no characteristic symptoms but can easily spread the virus to others,” he said.
Symptoms of the virus can include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, joint pain, stomach pains or jaundice. In severe cases, acute liver failure or death can occur.
The hepatitis A vaccine has been highly effective in preventing the disease. The vaccine is typically covered at no cost on most health insurance plans.
Esther Hayslett, Safe Schools Coordinator at Mercer County Schools, said the importance of taking care of the immunizations can not be underestimated.
“Almost every kid in the district is going to have to have an immunization,” she said.
With the need for immunizations rising, Mercer County Schools are encouraging parents to begin the process as early as possible.
“We’re trying to get the word out so there isn’t a mad rush,” Superintendent Dennis Davis said.
All students from kindergarten through 12th grade will be required to have these immunizations and have them documented with the school. Students 16 or older have to show proof of receiving two doses of Meningococcal ACWY vaccine to attend school, but if the first was received at 16 or older, only one dose is required for school entry.
For more information about the new immunization policy and to read the full press release, contact Esther Hayslett at 733-7000.
To learn more, check out this week’s issue of the Harrodsburg Herald.