February 11, 2009
A federal grant is helping the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services cover the cost of providing free hepatitis B vaccinations to at-risk adults. The three-shot series will be available at state public health centers into 2010.
Persons at risk for hepatitis B include those who have had an STD, people with multiple sex partners, men who have sex with men, people with HIV, and injecting drug users. People who live in correctional or long-term care facilities, dialysis patients, those who travel to developing countries, and health care or public safety workers are also susceptible to the infection.
While the state is providing the vaccines for free, health centers may charge administrative fees for them. Low-income patients will be charged on a sliding scale.
The Juneau Public Health Center located at 3412 Glacier Highway expects it will soon offer the state-funded vaccination. Kate Slotnick, nurse manager at JPHC, said her staff plans to make the vaccine available to prisoners at Lemon Creek Correction Center this month.