C-U Public Health District offering hepatitis A vaccine

C-U Public Health District offering hepatitis A vaccine

CHAMPAIGN — The Champaign-Urbana Public Health District is making free hepatitis A vaccine available to people considered to be at higher risk for infection.

The district is one of about two dozen public health departments working with the Illinois Department of Public Health to make the shots more readily available.

Illinois isn't experiencing a hepatitis A outbreak at this time, health officials said, but some other nearby states are.

Hepatitis A is a viral infection of the liver that's spread via contaminated food and water, drug use and sex. It can cause temporary illness or, sometimes, more serious liver damage.

While anyone can get hepatitis A, the local health district said it's making the vaccine available free to people considered to be at higher risk, which includes men who have sex with men, illegal drug users, people who are homeless or were recently incarcerated, and those with chronic liver disease.

People who don't qualify for the free hepatitis A vaccine can still receive it through local pharmacies or health care providers, according to the health district.

The district said it also has a limited amount of the vaccine available to the general public for a fee dependent on a patient's income. Medicaid and private insurance are also accepted as payment.

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