As far as LaRue County Schools’ 2300-plus students being in compliance with state-required hepatitis A immunizations, it’s “mission accomplished” according to Rip Collins, the district’s director of pupil personnel.
“The state required all students in our district from kindergarten through twelfth grade to have the immunizations completed by the beginning of the school year, but then allowed extensions to get them done,” he explained. “We chose October 8, the end of our fall break, as our deadline and, as of last week, our district is in 100 percent compliance.”
The regulation calls for certificates showing the shots have been given, or documentation that the student is exempt from the immunizations for both medical reasons and religious beliefs.
Collins praised the efforts of the district’s nurses for administering the shots and processing the immunization records.
“We are fortunate, through a contract with Cumberland Family Medical Services Healthy Kids Clinic, to have nurses in each of our schools who not only administer shots but also treat a variety of health issues among our students,” said Collins. “I want each person on that nursing staff to be recognized for their efforts.”
He named Katie Cruse, nurse practitioner, who travels with registered nurse Corey Morgan to all the district’s schools.
“I am glad that we at the Healthy Kids Clinic have been able to aid the schools in gaining compliance with the new state vaccination requirements,” Cruse said. “The hepatitis A vaccine has been recommended for all children since 2006 by the American Academy of Pediatrics but has not been required by the state for school attendance until this year. Hepatitis A is a serious health risk and I hope that this new requirement will help to slow the spread of the hep A outbreak in our state.”
Collins also mentioned registered nurses Norma Mink, LaRue County High School; Holly McAdams, LaRue County Middle School; Cari Self, Abraham Lincoln Elementary School; Sabrina Miller, Hodgenville Elementary School; and Tanya Williams, regional director of school nurse services.
“These nurses have been life savers in a lot of ways,” noted Denise Skaggs, LCHS principal. “In addition to giving shots, they dispense medicines and treat other illnesses in general.” The nurses, Collins related, administered some 250 hepatitis A shots and over 600 flu shots this year.
According to information from Mayo Clinic, Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus. The virus is one of several types of hepatitis viruses that cause inflammation and affect the liver’s ability to function.
A person is most likely to acquire hepatitis A from contaminated food or water or from close contact with a person or object that’s infected.
Practicing good hygiene, including washing hands frequently, is one of the best ways to protect against hepatitis A.