Hepatitis FAQs

Starting in school year 2008-2009, all children in kindergarten, preschool, Head Start, and childcare are required to have two doses of Hepatitis A vaccine. One dose of Hepatitis A vaccine is required to start kindergarten, preschool, or childcare, and the second dose should be given 6 months after the first dose. A medical or religious exemption is acceptable.

What is Hepatitis A?

Hepatitis A is a virus that can cause liver damage. Many children under six years of age do not show any symptoms if they are infected, but about 100 people in the U.S. die from the disease every year.

How is Hepatitis A spread?

Hepatitis A is spread from person to person via the fecal-oral route, by inadequate hand washing after using the toilet or changing a diaper. It can also be contracted from eating contaminated foods. In the past several years, there have been outbreaks of Hepatitis A in Oregon restaurants and schools, and from eating contaminated foods including frozen strawberries and green onions.

Who should get the Hepatitis A vaccine?

The Hepatitis A vaccine is recommended for all kids in Oregon 1-18 years of age, and for people at high risk of Hepatitis A, such as travelers. The vaccine is given in 2 doses, with the second dose recommended to be given six months after the first.

Do children need Hepatitis A to start kindergarten, preschool, or childcare in the fall?

Yes, one dose of Hepatitis A is required to start kindergarten, preschool, childcare, or Head. Start in the fall. The second dose is required by one year after the first dose, but it can be given as soon as six months after the first dose.

If a child has only one dose of Hepatitis A vaccine, will she be excluded from kindergarten or childcare in February?

It depends. If it’s been over a year since the first dose of Hepatitis A vaccine, the child will be issued an exclusion order for February exclusion. If it’s been less than a year, an exclusion order won’t be sent.

Should older students get Hepatitis A vaccine?

Yes, two doses of Hepatitis A vaccine are recommended for all children through 18 years of age if they haven’t received the vaccine yet. The requirement for Hepatitis A vaccine will be expanded one grade level per year through 5th grade in school year 2013-2014. In 2014-2015, two doses of Hepatitis A vaccine will be required for all students in grades K-12.

Should adults get Hepatitis A vaccine?

Yes, but you should check with your doctor to see if you should receive Hepatitis A vaccine. Hepatitis A is often a more serious disease in adults than children. Some adults that should get the Hepatitis A vaccine include international travelers to certain areas and people with liver diseases.

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