Nov. 2, 2017 – CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) is encouraging unvaccinated Florida residents to receive the Hepatitis A vaccine, following the Florida Department of Health’s (DOH) announcement that the state has seen an increase in locally acquired Hepatitis A cases. MinuteClinic walk-in medical clinics in Florida currently have vaccine available and are able to administer the immunization to patients to protect against Hepatitis A. Many CVS Pharmacy locations have the vaccine available as well. According to the Florida DOH, there have been 34 cases of Hepatitis A infection reported in Broward County since January 2017. During a typical year, the Florida DOH usually receives reports of seven cases of Hepatitis A.
Vaccination is the most effective way to protect people from Hepatitis A and MinuteClinic and CVS Pharmacy are offering the Hepatitis A vaccine at select locations across the state. There are 101 MinuteClinic locations with 10 in Broward County, as well as 876 CVS Pharmacy locations in Florida with 76 in Broward County. Patients planning to go to MinuteClinic to get vaccinated for Hepatitis A can visit MinuteClinic.com to view wait times at nearby clinics. Consumers can visit CVS.com or use the CVS Pharmacy app to locate a nearby CVS Pharmacy and to schedule a Hepatitis A vaccination appointment. Patients are encouraged to contact their local pharmacy to confirm availability.
“Immunizations are an important part of preventive care and a critical way to prevent the spread of serious illness, like Hepatitis A,” said Tobias Barker, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of MinuteClinic. “Our MinuteClinic nurse practitioners and CVS Pharmacy pharmacists are able to provide vaccinations to Floridians who may have been exposed to the virus or who are unaware of their vaccination status. They can also help ensure that patients stay up to date on vaccinations in the future.”
Hepatitis A vaccine may provide protection against the disease if given within two weeks after exposure. People who have had Hepatitis A disease or previously received two doses of the Hepatitis A vaccine do not need to be immunized for Hepatitis A again. Symptoms of Hepatitis A infection usually appear two to six weeks after exposure and include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, abdominal discomfort, dark urine, diarrhea, and yellow skin and eyes.
At MinuteClinic, the Hepatitis A vaccine can be provided to can be provided to adults and children 18 months and older. CVS pharmacists can provide the Hepatitis A vaccine to people ages 18 and up. It is administered in one primary dose and a second booster dose, usually administered 6 months later. Vaccine supplies will be replenished at these locations as needed. Patients should check with their insurance plans for coverage details prior to their MinuteClinic or CVS Pharmacy visit.
While vaccination provides the best protection from Hepatitis A, frequent hand-washing with soap and water after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, and before preparing food can help prevent the spread of the illness. Appropriately cooking foods can also help to prevent infection.