Hepatitis A is a serious disease of the liver which can cause "flu-like" symptoms, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes), and severe abdominal pain and diarrhea. Infection may result in hospitalization and in rare cases death. The disease is transmitted by the Hepatitis A virus which is found in the stool of infected persons. The disease may be transmitted by direct person-to-person contact, from contaminated water or ice, shellfish from sewage contaminated water, vegetables, fruits and any other foods that may have become contaminated during handling, and subsequently eaten uncooked.


Potential Indications for HAV Vaccination
  • Child care center staff and attendees
  • Food Handlers
  • Patients with hemophilia receiving solvent-detergent treated factor concentrates
  • Foreign travelers (other than Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Western Europe and Scandinavia)
  • Children 2 years and older in defined communities of high incidence of Hepatitis A
  • People with Chronic Liver disease
  • Anyone with Hepatitis B or C disease
  • Homosexual and Bisexual Men
  • Users of injection and illicit drugs
  • Those with occupational risk of exposure to Hepatitis A

Any person with concerns other than those listed above may meet with a Nurse Practitioner and receive the vaccine if necessary.


Hepatitis A Vaccine (HAV)

The Hepatitis A vaccine is given in two doses with at least a six month interval between each dose. Four weeks after the first dose of HAV vaccine one has immunity, but to insure lasting immunity (believed to last at least 20 years) you need to get the second one in 6 months. Other vaccines may be given at the same time as the Hepatitis A vaccine. The vaccine should not be administered to persons with a hypersensitivity to the components in the vaccine such as alum or the preservative 2-phenoxyethanol. Because the vaccine is inactivated there is no need for special precautions to be taken in the case of immunocompromised persons. The vaccination of a person with immunity to Hepatitis A does not increase the risk of any adverse effects. There is no data available regarding the safety of vaccination during pregnancy, though the theoretical risk is expected to be low.


Student Health Services does not provide the Hepatitis A vaccine, but will provide community referrals.


Visit the Web site of the Immunization Action Coalition to view their "Vaccine Information Statements" for further information about Hepatitis A vaccine.


For additional information, please contact Susan Quinn at squinn@santarosa.edu.