KY law requires students to have hepatitis A, meningitis vaccines before school year

KENTUCKY (WFIE) - The clock is ticking for parents to get their kids some important immunizations before the start of school in Kentucky.

A new state law requires students to have two doses of hepatitis A vaccine, and students 16 and older need their second meningitis vaccine.

A state-wide outbreak of hepatitis A was declared in Kentucky back in November, and medical professionals tell us the disease can be prevented with the vaccine.

"The needle is tiny. Most of our patients don't complain too much," said Nurse Practitioner Sharon Shields. "The after-effects of the vaccines are very minimal as well."

A serious liver disease, the recent hepatitis A outbreak was considered the worst in the country.

State health officials confirmed in June at least 969 people contracted it. Now, in order to start school this fall, Kentucky students have to get vaccinated.

This includes a two-shot series of hepatitis A vaccine for every student which needs to be given six months apart. That means in order to start school in August, students should have received the first round by mid-February.

"The immune response of the body to the vaccine. So to build up antibodies to the vaccine to be life protection," said Dr. Larry Crick. "These antibodies will last a lifetime. These antibodies will last a lifetime once they're vaccinated."

Students 16 years and older are also required to get a meningitis booster.

If your child has not previously received a dose of that vaccine and is 16 or older, only one dose is required.

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