(WETM) – Amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to make sure you are protected from other diseases. Earlier in February, there was a Hepatitis A outbreak in Elmira Heights at the Dunkin Donuts and Walmart. An employee of both businesses came to work with the virus and upon diagnosis, quarantined. All patrons of the locations were encouraged to participate in a free vaccination clinic at the Elmira-Corning Regional Airport.
Pediatrician and vaccination expert Dr. Leonard Friedland from GlaxoSmithKline said only 15 percent of American adults are vaccinated for Hepatitis A.
“Most people have never been vaccinated. About 15 percent of adults in the United States have received one of the recommended two doses of the vaccine and only 7 percent have received both doses,” Dr. Friedland said.
Hepatitis A can cause several uncomfortable symptoms like fever, nausea and stomach pains. It is important to get vaccinated because more than half of all Hepatitis cases result in hospitalization.
“There’s a very high rate of hospitalizations and nearly 60 to 70 percent of people who come down with the Hepatitis A virus will get hospitalized,” Dr. Friedland continued.
Along with Hepatitis A, it is important to make sure all vaccinations are up-to-date to prevent any other diseases. As the world continues to fight COVID-19, healthcare systems are overwhelmed. Vaccinations for other diseases can prevent non-COVID patients from entering the hospitals, which will prevent further spread of the novel virus.
“Hospitals are places we want to stay away from right now because we could potentially be exposed to a person with COVID-19. A Hepatitis A vaccination is not just for high risk groups. It’s not just if there was an outbreak. This is the time to say if there ever is an outbreak, I know that I’ve been protected because I had my Hepatitis A vaccine,” Dr. Friedland said.
It is important to check your vaccination history to see if you are protected from Hepatitis A and other viruses. Contact your primary care physician to learn more.
To view the full 18 News interview, click the video below.