LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Kids aren't jumping up and down to get them but, they may have to roll up their sleeves for some important vaccinations in order to get back into school. School districts around Kentucky have been warning parents that students won't be able to start the upcoming school year if they don't follow new vaccine requirements.
A new state regulation says all Kentucky students, preschool through grade 12, must provide proof that they have received the hepatitis A vaccine. Two doses are required which have to be administered six months apart. JCPS said a temporary certificate can be issued until the second dose is due, so no one should miss school because they haven't gotten the second vaccine.
"If they have had their first one and their certificate says expires in six months, my experience is with the school system is that they check those pretty closely," Norton Children's Medical Associates at Fern Creek Pediatrician Dr. Jeff Burton said.
If your child hasn't received the first dose, you need to visit a doctor soon. The new regulations are effective for the school year beginning on or after July 1, 2018.
Because the hepatitis A vaccine is recommended for infants at 12 and 18 months, many Kentucky students may have already received the two-dose vaccine. They would simply need to have their immunization records updated.
Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver disease caused by a virus. Symptoms can range from mild to severe, and include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, joint pain, stomach pain and diarrhea, or jaundice. In the most severe cases, liver failure and/or death can occur. Hepatitis A spreads primarily when an uninfected person ingests the virus from objects, food or drinks contaminated by small, undetected amounts of stool from an infected person, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
All students age 16 or older must also have two doses of the meningitis vaccine. Jefferson County Public Schools officials said if you have not already taken your child to his/her health care provider to have these updates done, do so before school starts in August.
Norton Healthcare said its pediatricians have been very busy getting the information together for parents to either pick up an updated immunization certificate or to get children scheduled for checkups and immunizations. Norton Healthcare also said if patients received the first hepatitis A vaccine in January or February, they all need to come back in July or August to get the second immunization.
There is a possibility of a heavy influx of patients in the next couple of months. Practices are keeping a close watch on supply, and some have upped the order to hopefully accommodate any rush.
According to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services there are more than 832 cases of Hep A in Kentucky and six deaths. Metro Public Health and Wellness reports 470 of those cases are in Louisville and the outbreak here has impacted people ages 10-83.