As Ohio’s Hepatitis A outbreak continues, Columbus first responders received vaccinations at a clinic Wednesday, following the recommendation of public health officials.
Since the beginning of 2018, the Ohio Department of Health identified more than 1,900 Hepatitis A cases, with 317 in Franklin County. In comparison, 2017 saw only 47 cases statewide.
Columbus Health Commissioner Mysheika Roberts says other health workers should also get vaccinated if they work closely with people likely to have disease, like people who are incarcerated or homeless.
“We want to make sure they are protected from Hepatitis A so that they won't get it from one of the individuals they are trying to help, and obviously so that they won't share it when they’re trying to help," Roberts says.
Local public health offices provided about 4,000 vaccines to high-risk individuals, and the Ohio Department of Health shipped 40,000 statewide.
“Obviously, the more people we can have vaccinated against Hepatitis A the less people will get Hepatitis A in our community,” Roberts said. “The one that we’ve been doing and will continue to work on is to get as many people in our community vaccinated against Hep A as possible. That’s first and foremost.”
Besides vaccines, Roberts also recommended frequently washing hands, since practicing good hygiene also reduces the spread of Hepatitis A.