Tennessee law effective July 1, 2003 requires that all new incoming students be provided information about the risks of Hepatitis B infection and the availability and effectiveness of vaccine. The student (18 and older) or parent/guardian must sign a waiver form indicating that they have received the information and have chosen to have the vaccine or not to have the vaccine.

  College students are at risk for hepatitis B, a serious infectious disease that attacks the liver and can lead to lifelong infection and even death. The virus is spread when an individual comes in contact with blood or other body fluids of an infected person through broken skin or mucous membranes. In 2001, about 78,000 people were infected with the virus, the majority of whom are adolescents and young adults. There is no cure for hepatitis B, but the infection can be prevented by vaccination. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend vaccination of everyone 18 years of age and under, as well as other students at high risk for hepatitis B. The American College Health Association (ACHA) encourages immunization for all college students, and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) urges all college athletes to be vaccinated.

  The highest rates of hepatitis B cases occur in those 20 to 49 years of age. Crowded living situations; unprotected sex; non-sterile body piercings and tattoos; sharing needles, toothbrushes, razors, and pierced earrings; and travel abroad to countries where hepatitis B is common can increase the risk for college students. In addition, health sciences students (e.g., nursing and medical students) are at particular risk of exposure through patient care.

 A safe and effective vaccine is available to protect against Hepatitis B. The vaccine series for hepatitis B is given in the arm, in three doses over a six-month period. It's important to get all three doses for full protection against hepatitis B. The vaccine is 96% effective upon completion of all three doses. The most common side effect of the vaccine is soreness at the site of injection. Other mild side effects such as fever, headache, and nausea are rare. The vaccine is available at local health departments.

 Written material on hepatitis B and the vaccine is available in Student Health Services and on our website regarding hepatitis B . If you have any questions please feel free to contact us at 423.323.0212.

  Hepatitis B Waiver Form 

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