Kindergartners need to be vaccinated for hepatitis A, B | NevadaAppeal.com

Kindergartners need to be vaccinated for hepatitis A, B

by Teri Vance, Appeal Staff Writer

The new hepatitis A and B vaccination requirements to enter Nevada schools have been met with little opposition in Carson City, officials say.

“I haven’t conducted a scientific survey, but informally there’s been a minimal number of people who didn’t know about it or who were upset by it,” said Mike Watty, associate superintendent of educational services. “It had a minor effect, but nothing significant.”

Kindergarten registration began in May and will continue until school starts in August. Watty said about 600 kindergartners are expected to register.

The new vaccination requirements went into effect Monday and came after a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control in 1997 revealed Nevada is one of 11 Western states to have a high rate of hepatitis A.

The national average is 10 cases per 100,000 people and Nevada’s rate is double that, with more than 21 cases for every 100,000 people, according to the disease control center.

The center has recommended all children be immunized for hepatitis A since 1991, and Nevada implemented statewide hepatitis B vaccination programs for infants and children in 1992.

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Hepatitis A is spread through person-to-person contact or through contaminated food and water. About 180,000 Americans are infected with the disease each year, with the highest incidence among children ages 5 to 14.

Nearly 100 people die each year nationally from the disease and about 22 need hospitalization.

Hepatitis B can cause liver damage and cancer and is spread through blood and other bodily fluids. Each year, more than 5,000 die from the disease and 1.25 million people carry the disease.

The hepatitis A vaccination is one shot followed by a booster six months later. The hepatitis B vaccine is a three-shot series.

The vaccine can cost about $25 per shot or $150 for the series.

The State Health Division will administer them free to those who do not have insurance or who are Native American or Alaskan.

For information, call the health division at 684-5900.

Information

For information on the state’s Hepatitis A and B immunization requirements call 684-5900.