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Hepatitis A vaccination clinics to be offered next week for Kanawha first responders

Monica Mason, a nurse practitioner and director of education for the Kanawha County Emergency Ambulance Authority, announces Hepatitis A vaccination clinics that will be offered Tuesday and Wednesday next week for Kanawha County Commission employees, Ambulance Authority employees and county first responders. (WCHS/WVAH)

Kanawha County first responders have an opportunity to get a vaccination for Hepatitis A at clinics that will be offered Tuesday and Wednesday next week.

The clinics, which will be at the Kanawha County Emergency Authority on Brooks Street in Charleston, will be conducted from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Monica Mason, a nurse practitioner and director of education for the Ambulance Authority, said the optional vaccinations will be for Kanawha County Commission employees, Ambulance Authority employees and first responders in the county, including firefighters.

“We’re just trying to get ahead of the game and offer this to those who are most vulnerable,” Mason said.

The Ambulance Authority is working with the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department and staff members from the health department will be providing the vaccinations at the clinics. The cost of the shots will be billed to individual insurance companies. Mason said most insurance companies are covering the cost of Hepatitis A vaccinations at little or no cost.

At this point, she said, there is not a need for mass vaccinations for the public based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state Bureau for Public Health guidelines.

Mason said they are trying not to cause alarm to members of the general public, but to educate them. She said they have connected a Hepatitis A questions and answers page to their Facebook page to educate the public on what can be done to prevent getting infected.

Currently, there are about 80 Hepatitis A cases under investigation in Kanawha and Putnam counties. Three food service workers at restaurants have been diagnosed with Hepatitis A.

Mason said officials are monitoring on what is going on with Hepatitis A in Kanawha County and in surrounding areas such as Kentucky.

As far as advice for the public, handwashing is recommended before and after using the restroom, during food preparation and before and after consuming food. Mason said they also are recommending that first responders observe good handwashing techniques and wipe down their equipment.

Some of the signs that someone is infected with Hepatitis A include fatigue abdominal pain, jaundice, fever, nausea, vomiting and dark urine.

The average incubation period for Hepatitis A is 28 days.

While vaccinations for Hepatitis A are not being recommended for the general public right now, anyone who would like to have a vaccination should be able to get one at local pharmacies or at the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department, Mason said.

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