Health Department continues offering Hepatitis A vaccine to at-risk populations

Metro Public Health Department (MPHD) officials have confirmed 78 cases of hepatitis A occurred in Nashville since December 2017. 

MPHD continues to work with the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH), as well as other Metro Departments and community organizations in response to the outbreak. Work continues to reach three at-risk groups.

At greatest risk of exposure to hepatitis A in the current outbreak include:

  • People who use drugs (not just injection drug use)
  • Men who have sexual contact with men
  • Individuals experiencing homelessness

The Health Department has led a hepatitis A vaccine campaign, along with community partners, to vaccinate more than 4,000 people in Nashville over the past two months.  Vaccination initiatives will continue in an effort to end the outbreak, including working with organizations that serve the homeless, reaching out to the LGBTQ community, working with the Davidson County Sherriff’s Office to vaccinate DCSO inmates, and efforts to reach those who use drugs.

Upcoming Health Department vaccination efforts include offering free hepatitis A vaccine at the 8th Annual Bianca Paige Day event that will take place August 25 at Trax, located at 1501 Ensley Blvd.  Health Department nurses will offer the free vaccine from 2 p.m. – 10 p.m. at the event.

Large hepatitis A outbreaks have occurred since early 2017 in several states, including ongoing outbreaks in California, Utah, Kentucky, Indiana and West Virginia, spreading from person to person primarily among people who are homeless and people who are drug users.

MPHD works with TDH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on testing specimens collected from those confirmed as having hepatitis A.  CDC test results from samples in Nashville match the strain of hepatitis A found in the recent outbreaks around the country.

MPHD continues to offer free hepatitis A vaccine at all three of its Health Department Centers to the three risk groups.  MPHD continues to receive additional doses of hepatitis A vaccine from TDH and more vaccine is available as needed.  

MPHD operates three health centers open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday:

  • East Health Center, 1015 East Trinity Lane
  • Lentz Health Center, 2500 Charlotte Ave.
  • Woodbine Health Center, 224 Oriel Ave 

An agreement with Neighborhood Health has been established to provide hepatitis A vaccine to those in the three at-risk groups. Neighborhood Health locations and hours of operation are as follows:

Downtown Clinic, 526 8th Avenue South (adjacent to the Room in the Inn campus)
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday

Madison Clinic, 601 W. Due West Avenue
8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., Monday through Friday and 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Saturday

My House Clinic, 442 Metroplex Dr. Building D, Suite 200
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday and 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Friday

Cayce Clinic, 617 South 8th St.
7am to 4pm Monday through Friday

Cleveland Park Medical & Dental Clinic, 1223 Dickerson Pike
8am to 5pm Monday through Friday

Eastside Medical & Dental Clinic, 905 Main St.
8am to 5pm Monday through Friday

Napier Medical & Dental Clinic, 107 Charles E. Davis Blvd.
7am to 4pm Monday through Friday

Walk-ins are welcome.  Appointments can be made with Neighborhood Health by calling (615) 227-3000.

The hepatitis A vaccine can also be found at area health care providers in Nashville for those with insurance. Many insurance plans cover the costs of hepatitis A vaccine without a deductible or co-pay, if administered by an in-network health care provider.

MPHD has been sending Health Alerts to health care providers in Nashville about the current hepatitis A outbreak, a reminder about the symptoms, and how they should report cases to MPHD.

MPHD has initiated a community awareness campaign focusing on outbreak updates and steps to follow to prevent exposure to hepatitis A.  Updates and prevention messaging, such as the importance of hand washing and the use of a vaccine to protect against the virus for those at risk, can be found at www.health.nashville.gov. 

Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus. Common symptoms include: fever, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, jaundice (yellowing of eyes and skin), and clay-colored stools. The disease can be severe in some people, possibly requiring hospitalization. Most recover completely within a few weeks. Hepatitis A usually spreads when a person unknowingly ingests the virus from objects, food, or drinks contaminated by small, undetected amounts of stool from an infected person. Hepatitis A can also spread from close personal contact with an infected person such as through sex or caring for someone who is ill. The best way to prevent hepatitis A is through vaccination.

For more information visit https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/index.htm