Kentucky mandates two new immunizations for students this year
Summer is dwindling fast, and that means parents have to start preparing to send their kids back to school. Besides loading up on school supplies, Kentucky’s students must also get new vaccines before returning to school.
There are two new vaccinations students are required to get this year before classes start.
"All children, preschool through 12th grade, are required to have the Hepatitis A vaccine, and then all students 16 and older are required to have the Meningitis booster vaccine,” Jill Keys, a nurse at the Fayette County Health Department said.
The shots are now required by law, following a number of Hepatitis A outbreaks across the state. The Kentucky Department of Public Health reports there have been 1,100 cases.
Doctors say the Hepatitis A vaccine is used to prevent a type of liver disease caused by the Hepatitis A virus.
"The most common things that people notice are the yellowing or jaundice of the skin and eyes. It can put people in the hospital. It can get you pretty sick,” Keys said.
The disease can also prove fatal. Eight Kentuckians have died from the virus this year. Health officials say it’s important to start preparing now, because the Hepatitis A vaccine is given in two doses that are administered six months apart.
Health officials say the Meningitis booster is given in just one dose. Students must have received their first Hepatitis A shot before they enroll this school year, according to school officials.
"Make sure when you go to the doctor that you get a copy of your immunization certificate. I always recommend to get two or three copies if your child is in an after school program or daycare program,” Keys said.