State to host Hepatitis A vaccinations
With Hepatitis A on the rise nationwide, the Connecticut Department of Public has announced that free vaccination clinics will take place around the state in the coming months.
While Connecticut has not seen a Hepatitis A outbreak — with only six cases to date this year — the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported an increase of Hepatitis A in at-risk populations nationally and has encouraged all states including those currently unaffected to implement vaccination clinics. At-risk populations include intravenous drug users and the homeless population.
“We have not seen an outbreak of Hepatitis A in Connecticut thus far, and we are actively taking steps to protect our people against such an outbreak by working with our partners in local health to offer free vaccination clinics. While these clinics will be focused on the populations most at risk for infection, they are available to anyone who wishes to be vaccinated,” said DPH Commissioner Dr. Raul Pino in a news release. “In addition to these clinics, I encourage people to speak with their medical providers about Hepatitis A, their risks for infection, and the need for vaccination.”
Hepatitis A is a virus that can be carried on an infected person’s hands and spread by person-to-person contact or by contaminated food or drink. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, poor appetite, diarrhea, and abdominal discomfort. Proper personal hygiene and regular hand washing can reduce transmission.
DPH has initiated protective measures to prevent an outbreak, include vaccination clinics for at-risk populations through local health departments and DPH’s Syringe Services Programs in Hartford, Bridgeport, Danbury, New Haven and New London. The local health departments in Hartford and Torrington will be offering the first round of clinics this week
People who may be at- risk should contact the local health departments of Hartford, Bridgeport, Danbury, New Haven, Waterbury, Torrington or New London for more information on vaccination clinics in their area.
Many other cities have announced they are interested in providing Hepatitis A vaccinations — including Danbury, Stamford, Norwalk and New Haven — but have not finalized their plans.
For more information about hepatitis A visit the DPH website or CDC website.