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Questions answered about hepatitis A vaccine

What you need to know
Posted at 4:20 PM, Apr 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-12 16:59:04-04

In Palm Beach County, health department officials said pharmacies are getting daily shipments of the hepatitis A vaccine. In Martin County, health officials said shipments are coming in as well, but they recommend calling your healthcare provider or pharmacy before going and noted you may have to call a few places.

"I never imagined anything like that could be happening here," said one man, who told us he knows first-hand what hepatitis A is like. He said he had it as a teenager living in Venezuela.

"I think people should get vaccinated if they think they are at risk," he said. "I was at university and they had a restaurant for all the students, probably the sanitary conditions were not the best, so I think I got it there.

It is not so cut and dry for others. Many don't even know if they have been vaccinated for hepatitis A.

"If you are an older teen or younger adult, I will tell you you were not routinely vaccinated because the vaccine wasn't available when you were are baby," said Dr. Lynda Bideau, a pediatrician at Children's Physicians. "Now you may have had a catch up dose if your parent elected to catch you up."

If you still can't figure it out, the next question is: is it safe to get vaccinated for hepatitis A more than once?

"You may get the vaccine twice - it does not harm you to be re-immunized," said Dr. Bideau.

In Palm Beach County, the health department encourages you to check with your health care provider to see if you are at high risk for hep A. Then, if needed, go to a pharmacy for the shot.

The best advice is to contact your doctor to see if you've had the vaccination. There is also a statewide registry where you can check and see if your doctor entered your immunization records. The website can be found here.