August 29, 2019
Hepatitis A vaccine now recommended for all children ages 2-18
The Vaccines for Children program can help
For Immediate Release:
Aug. 29, 2019
Chief, Office of Public Information
Missouri Dept of Health and Senior Services
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Nationwide, cases of hepatitis A are on the rise. Many states, including Missouri, are currently experiencing outbreaks, and the hepatitis A vaccine is the best way to prevent hepatitis A infection. The hepatitis A vaccine is a two-dose vaccination. However, the first dose of hepatitis A provides 95 percent protection for up to 11 years for healthy adults.1 The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends that all children and adolescents aged 2 through 18 years who have not received hepatitis A vaccine be vaccinated regardless of age.2
Funded by the CDC, the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program provides vaccines at no cost for children 18 years of age or younger who meet the following criteria3:
- Medicaid eligible
- Do not have health insurance
- Are American Indian or Alaskan Native; or
- Are underinsured
Hepatitis A is a viral infection of the liver that can cause loss of appetite, nausea, tiredness, fever, stomach pain, brown colored urine, and light colored stools. Yellowing of the skin or eyes might also occur. However, only about 30 percent of infected children under the age of six have symptoms and few will have jaundice. People can become ill up to 7 weeks after being exposed to the virus.
Hepatitis A usually spreads when a person unknowingly ingests the virus from objects, food, or drinks contaminated by small, undetected amounts of stool (poop) from an infected person. In addition to vaccination, careful hand washing with soap and water, including under the fingernails, after using the bathroom or changing diapers and before preparing or eating food can help prevent the spread of this disease.
About the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services: The department seeks to be the leader in protecting health and keeping people safe. More information about DHSS can be found at http://health.mo.gov or find us on Facebook and Twitter @HealthyLivingMo.