Don’t forget your second hepatitis A vaccination

People need 2nd hepatitis A vaccine to completely prevent disease

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Don’t let it slip off your radar. The hepatitis A outbreak in still a concern in our area.

If you got the first dose of the vaccination, that’s a step in the right direction. Doctors are urging people to remember to get the second dose.

The two doses of the vaccination need to be six months apart.

“Once you are vaccinated with first dose, that helps prevent 80% of the disease,” Norton Healthcare Pediatrician Dr. Erin Frazier said. “That’s why you need to get a second dose of Hep A six months later to completely prevent getting the disease.”

These are the total number of cases in the state of Kentucky according to the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, as of December 2018:

  • Total Outbreak: 3,265
  • Hospitalizations: 1,625
  • Deaths:  21

According to Metro Public Health and Wellness, since August of 2017, there have been more than 645 hepatitis A cases in Louisville.

People get their vaccinations from different places like pharmacies, doctors offices and health departments.

Louisville health officials said of the nearly 25,000 vaccinations they administered, only about 9% of those people have gotten the second shot. Getting that second shot just gets you more protection.

Many hospitals have patient portals so you can also have a reminder sent to you that way. If you get your shot at a pharmacy, some will offer reminder phone calls for that second shot.

Stacy Rayburn said she got the first vaccination because she eats out frequently. Rayburn said she forgot that she needed the second dose until WAVE 3 News reminded her.

“I never got a reminder from the pharmacy,” Rayburn said.

Dr. Frazier offered a solution for that.

“Most of us now a days have a our handy iPhones, setting a six month reminder would be a great way to remember,” she said.

So, what happens if dose number two is delayed?

Doctors say you can just get it as soon as you remember. You do not need to start the series over again.

The CDC also says the two brands of hepatitis A vaccine are interchangeable.

It’s never too late to get your hep A vaccine. If you can’t remember at all, getting an extra dose of hepatitis A vaccine is not harmful.

Children more than likely already have both vaccinations covered because of school requirements.

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