Ohio Pharmacies Respond to Hepatitis A Outbreak

CVS MinuteClinic offers hepatitis A vaccines and services  
homeless young people

The expanding hepatitis A outbreak in the 'Heartland' states now includes Ohio.

When the state of Ohio declared a hepatitis A outbreak on June 22, 2018, it was responding to an increasing number of homeless, drug users and even food service staff spreading this liver disease.

And, this outbreak in Ohio continues to expand.

According to the Ohio Department of Health, as of June 25th, 82 Hepatitis A cases have been confirmed since the start of 2018. 

Moreover, this outbreak appears to be targeted in three counties: Montgomery (17), Lawrence (13) and Lucas (10).

This type of regional concentration requires a targeted response.

And MinuteClinic, the retail medical clinic of CVS Health, has quickly responded.

CVS said in a press release it is encouraging unvaccinated Ohio residents to receive the Hepatitis A vaccine at any of the 64 MinuteClinic locations in Ohio.

In Ohio, doctors, nurses, and pharmacists can deliver the Hepatitis A vaccine to children 24 months and older and to adults.

Hepatitis vaccines are administered in 1 primary dose and a 2nd booster dose usually administered 6 months later. CVS said in a press release that vaccine supplies will be replenished at MinuteClinic locations as needed.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the best way to prevent hepatitis A virus (HAV) infection is through vaccination. The number and timing of the doses depend on the type of vaccine administered.

The inactivated vaccines containing HAV antigen currently licensed in the United States are:

  • the single-antigen vaccines HAVRIX® (manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline, Rixensart, Belgium) and,
  • VAQTA® (manufactured by Merck & Co., Inc., Whitehouse Station, New Jersey) and,
  • the combination vaccine TWINRIX® (containing both HAV and hepatitis B virus antigens; manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline).
  • GamaSTAN S/D (Grifols Therapeutics, Inc., Research Triangle Park, North Carolina) immune globulin (IG) for intramuscular administration is the only IG product approved for HAV prophylaxis.

The efficacy of IG or vaccine, when administered greater than 2 weeks after exposure, has not been established, says the CDC.

Most pharmacies in the USA offer hepatitis vaccines.

To schedule a vaccination appointment at a local pharmacy, please click here.

The CDC Vaccine Price List provides current HAV vaccine contract prices and general information, and vaccine discounts can be found here.

Vaccines, like any medicine, can have side effects, says the CDC. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of vaccines to the FDA or CDC.

Hepatitis A vaccine may provide protection against the disease if given within two weeks after exposure. People who have had Hepatitis A disease or previously received two doses of the Hepatitis A vaccine do not need to be immunized for Hepatitis A again, says the CDC.

Symptoms of Hepatitis A infection usually appear two to six weeks after exposure and include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, abdominal discomfort, dark urine, diarrhea, and yellow skin and eyes.

To confirm your current immunities, please speak with a healthcare provider, or visit Ulta Lab Tests. Professional interpretation of testing is advised.

MinuteClinic launched the first retail medical clinics in the United States in 2000 and has more than 1,100 locations in 33 states and the District of Columbia.