With Hep A Infections Rising Around the Country, CT to Hold Vaccination Clinics for At-Risk Populations
Proactive efforts by state and local health officials aimed at preventing an outbreak in CT
The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) today announced that free vaccination clinics will be held around the state in the coming months to prevent an outbreak of Hepatitis A among at risk populations. While Connecticut has not seen a Hepatitis A outbreak among at risk populations, including IV-drug users and persons experiencing homelessness, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported an increase of Hepatitis A (HAV) in at-risk populations nationally and has encouraged all states including those currently unaffected to implement vaccination clinics. Please see below for a current list of vaccination clinics.
“We have not seen an outbreak of Hepatitis A in Connecticut thus far, and we are actively taking steps to protect our people against such an outbreak by working with our partners in local health to offer free vaccination clinics. While these clinics will be focused on the populations most at risk for infection, they are available to anyone who wishes to be vaccinated,” said DPH Commissioner Dr. Raul Pino. “In addition to these clinics, I encourage people to speak with their medical providers about Hepatitis A, their risks for infection, and the need for vaccination.”
Hepatitis A is a virus that can be carried on an infected person’s hands and spread by person-to-person contact or by contaminated food or drink. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, poor appetite, diarrhea, and abdominal discomfort. Proper personal hygiene and regular hand washing can reduce transmission.
Connecticut is not currently experiencing an active HAV outbreak with 6 cases reported to date in 2018, however, given the pattern of significant HAV outbreaks seen in other states, there is concern that a similar outbreak could happen in Connecticut.
DPH has initiated protective measures to prevent an outbreak, include vaccination clinics for at-risk populations through local health departments and DPH’s Syringe Services Programs (SSP) in Hartford, Bridgeport, Danbury, New Haven and New London. The local health departments in Hartford and Torrington will be offering the first round of clinics this week (See schedule below). Organizations who work with at-risk populations, such as soup kitchens and homeless shelters, will assist in publicizing the clinics. Vaccinations are also recommended for staff in facilities who serve these at-risk populations.
Additionally, HAV vaccination guidance for this population has also been sent to all health professionals, health care facilities, and medical partners including guidance on ways to reduce Hepatitis A transmission through proper hygiene and sanitation.
People who may be at- risk should contact the local health departments of Hartford, Bridgeport, Danbury, New Haven, Waterbury, Torrington or New London for more information on vaccination clinics in their area.
Here is the current list of Hepatitis A vaccination clinics:
8/20/18 5-7 pm ImmaCare Shelter, 168 Hungerford Street, Hartford
8/21/18 7:15-9:45am SSP needle exchange van located at Park and Hungerford St, Hartford
8/22/18 4:30-7pm McKinney Shelter, 34 Huyshope Avenue, Hartford
8/24/18 7:15-9:45am SSP needle exchange van located at Park and Hungerford St, Hartford
8/22/18 8:00 am Community Soup Kitchen, 220 Prospect Street, Torrington
The following local health department/districts have expressed interest in providing vaccinations to at-risk individuals as part of the Hepatitis A Vaccination Campaign but have not finalized their plans: Danbury, Stamford, Norwalk, New Haven, Waterbury, Uncas Health District, and the Quinnipiac Valley Health District. These health departments/districts can be contacted for information on upcoming vaccination clinics. Additional clinic dates and locations will provided as they are scheduled across the state.