Jefferson County Students Must Have Hepatitis A Vaccine

Your child will still be allowed to start school in Jefferson County even if he or she still has not received both doses of the hepatitis A vaccine before the start of school next month. Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) announced children would still be allowed to start school on time even if they have not complied with new law requiring two doses of the hepatitis A vaccination so long as they submit proof of at least one dose of the vaccine.

State law now requires all JCPS students in Kindergarten through 12th grade, as well as private school and home-schooled students who participate in extra-curricular school activities like sports and other school-sponsored activities, to receive two doses of the hepatitis A vaccine before school starts on August 15, 2018.

Hepatitis A is a highly contagious infection of the liver typically spread when a person ingests fecal matter, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). People usually unintentionally ingest fecal matter when they or restaurant workers handling and preparing food do not wash their hands after using the restroom.

Symptoms of hepatitis A include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, loss of appetite, and jaundice. The CDC recommends the best way to prevent hepatitis A is through vaccination. The hepatitis A vaccine requires two doses, with a minimum time of 6 months between doses.

Parents must submit proof through an updated Kentucky Immunization Certificate that their child has received at least one dose of the hepatitis A vaccine prior to the start of school. If your child has not received at least one dose by the first day of school, your child will not be permitted to start school.

Public health officials declared an acute hepatitis A outbreak in November 2017 after 19 confirmed cases in Jefferson County. The number has now risen to 507 confirmed cases with 3 deaths since the outbreak started.

Meningitis Vaccine Required for Older Students

Another new law requires students aged 16 years and older to receive two doses of the Meningococcal ACWY vaccine, and also provide proof of vaccination. Most children can receive their first dose of the meningitis vaccine beginning at age 11.

Children aged 16 years and older may still start school with proof of one dose of the meningitis vaccine.

Meningitis is an infection of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord, and can be either a viral or bacterial infection. Viral meningitis is the milder form of the infection, while bacterial meningitis can be extremely serious, sometimes fatal. Symptoms of meningitis include headache, fever, and a stiff neck. The infection can spread through coughing and kissing.

Students who have not yet received their second, or booster dose, of the meningitis vaccine may still start school on time provided they submit an updated Kentucky Immunization Certificate signed by a doctor.