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For Release: Feb. 2, 2012 – Contact Pamela Williams, Office of Communications – 405/271-5601

Oklahoma Ranks First in Hepatitis A Vaccine Coverage for Teens

Oklahoma has the highest hepatitis A vaccination rate in the country for teenagers, according to an article published in the journal Pediatrics last month.

About 85 percent of Oklahoma teenagers 13 through 17 years of age have completed the two-dose series of hepatitis A vaccine, according to the article. This compares to the national rate of 29.5 percent.

“Oklahoma’s high vaccination rate is undoubtedly due to the successful implementation of school and child care hepatitis A vaccine requirements initiated during the 1998 -1999 school year,” said State Health Commissioner Dr. Terry Cline.

Following a hepatitis A epidemic that took place in Oklahoma from 1995 through 1997, Oklahoma established a hepatitis A vaccine requirement for entry into child care and public schools. The epidemic peaked in 1996 with 2,516 cases reported in the state. In 2011, only three cases were reported in Oklahoma.

“We appreciate the efforts of many people across the state, including our county health departments, the Indian Health Service and tribal health clinics, private physicians and clinics, and other public clinics, who have immunized Oklahoma children. We also offer a grateful thanks to schools and child care facilities that have enforced the hepatitis A vaccination requirement,” Cline said. “These actions will help protect children from hepatitis A infection, a serious illness that can last several months.” 

For information about Oklahoma’s immunization requirements, visit www.health.ok.gov, or call (405) 271-4073, or contact your local county health department.

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