Indiana is one of several states experiencing a Hepatitis A outbreak, and the state wants students to be better protected as they head back to school.
This year, all sixth and 12th graders are required to have a Hepatitis A vaccination on the books before coming to school. It’s a new requirement from the state in response to an outbreak of Hepatitis A.
The Indiana Department of Health’s Director of Immunizations Dave McCormick says the addition aligns with other required vaccines kids need.
“So Hep A was added at the 12th grade visit and also the 6th grade visit because there were other touch points for other vaccines,” McCormick says.
The state started requiring the vaccine for children entering kindergarten in 2014, and has rolled the requirement up with each grade since then.
A committee of health and education officials helps shape school immunization requirements every year. McCormick says the group chose to add Hep A to the required vaccines kids already need at the sixth and 12th grade levels to streamline the process.
“We added Hep A to that same touch point, so that those children would be protected and were not causing an added burden to those families or health care providers,” he says.
Though the requirements only include K-4, 6th and 12th grades, the department recommends all students in K-12 get a Hepatitis A vaccination.
Indiana usually sees an average of 20 cases of Hepatitis A a year, but 13 counties have reported at least five cases of Hepatitis A since November. The state has reported at least 334 cases of Hepatitis A so far this year.
More information on the Hepatitis A outbreak in Indiana can be found on the State Department of Health’s website.