October 31, 2002
HEALTH DEPARTMENT TO ADMINISTER HEPATITIS B SHOTS IN MIDDLE SCHOOLS
Charlotte, NC – Starting Friday, November 1, the Mecklenburg County Health Department’s school nursing staff will offer hepatitis B shots to sixth-graders in Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools (CMS). These free vaccinations are not a requirement for these students to stay in school, but are recommended.
Wilson Middle School will be the first site where students will be offered the vaccinations. Permission slips were sent to parents of all CMS sixth-graders. Students cannot get the vaccination without this signed permission slip. Middle school offices have additional copies of the permission slips.
The hepatitis B vaccination is a three-shot series. Students at all CMS middle schools will be offered the initial shot during the first two weeks of November, the second shot during the first two weeks of December, and the final shot will be offered during a two-week period in April. Children who have already had the hepatitis B series of vaccinations do not need to get these shots again.
Hepatitis B vaccinations became a required childhood immunization for those born after July 1, 1994. Since that time, sixth graders have been offered the immunization since they are unlikely to have participated in high-risk behaviors such as unprotected sex or IV drug use that may expose them to the disease.
Hepatitis B is a disease caused by a virus that affects the liver. Some people may never notice symptoms; others may never fully recover from it and may be able to spread it to others through contact with an infected person’s blood or other body fluids. Hepatitis B is also a major cause of liver cancer.
Those who miss the free vaccinations offered at the middle schools may still get them at either Mecklenburg County Health Department campus. Childhood vaccinations are always free at the Health Department.
For more information about this or other vaccinations, parents are asked to contact their child’s school nurse, or call the Mecklenburg County Health Department’s School Health Program at 704-336-5496.