TAMPA, Fla (WFLA) – Florida officials have declared a public health emergency with the growing outbreak of Hepatitis A.
New cases are emerging from across the state, with the Tampa Bay area being the most significant contributor to the 2,034 cases that have emerged in Florida since the beginning of 2019. In contrast, only 548 cases were reported to the Florida Department of Health in 2018.
Just last week, 53 cases were reported to the state, many of them coming from Pinellas and Pasco counties.
Now, 8 On Your Side is taking a look at how residents can protect themselves in the most effective way.
But with all of the Hepatitis A cases across the Tampa Bay area, many are wondering just how effective the vaccination will be to protect them from the potentially fatal disease.
The Florida Department of Health calls vaccinations “the best way to prevent Hepatitis A infection.”
According to the CDC, the Hepatitis A vaccine is an inactivated vaccine that requires two doses for the best protection.
Generally, children are vaccinated by the age of two, but adults who have not been vaccinated can also get the vaccine.
According to the CDC, there are no known, serious risks to getting Hepatitis A vaccine.
Florida’s Department of Health reports that 98 percent of people with Hepatitis A reported never receiving a dose of hepatitis A vaccine, and with the recent outbreak across the Bay area, many residents are heading the warning of health officials to take advantage of the vaccination.
Since last October, the number of first doses of Hepatitis A vaccine administered by both private providers and county health departments to adults age 18 years and older remained well above the previous 5-year average.
In the week between July 21 and July 27 of this year, 4,227 doses were administered and private locations, such as CVS MinuteClinics, and public Health Department clinics.
Click on the map below to find locations where you can be vaccinated.