Vaccinations for Portsmouth school after new case of hepatitis

All staff and pupils at Devonshire Infant School in Southsea will be vaccinated against hepatitis A. File picture of a vaccination
All staff and pupils at Devonshire Infant School in Southsea will be vaccinated against hepatitis A. File picture of a vaccination
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ALL staff and pupils at an infant school will be vaccinated against hepatitis A after another person contracted the virus.

Public Health England said it is extending vaccination for hepatitis A at Devonshire Infant School in Francis Avenue, Southsea, following confirmation of a further case there.

Despite the calls from some parents, the injection was not offered to every pupil and staff member when the virus first broke out at the end of November.

As reported, right, parent Gemma James said she was so concerned she paid for her daughter Deedee, five, who is in Year 1, to be vaccinated privately.

Gemma, 30, said: ‘I have been annoyed about this from the very beginning.

‘The children in reception were offered, but not other year groups which didn’t make any sense to me.

‘Now we’ve had letters to say because another person, a pupil I think, has come down with it, the whole school will be offered the vaccination.

‘I don’t mean to say “I told you so”, but that’s what it feels like.’

Initially there were eight cases of people diagnosed, but PHE said at that time it was transferred from within households and not at the school.

A spokesman said: ‘Previously, evidence suggested transmission was limited to household settings but this further case suggests that it may have occurred within the school.

‘The offer of vaccination is also being given to children and staff at Fledglings pre-school as a precautionary measure, because there is some shared use of facilities by the two schools.’

There were also cases in Fernhurst Junior School, but as there have been no more cases the vaccination is not being offered.

Gemma said she was so concerned at the initial outbreak that she contacted her GP so her daughter could be vaccinated.

‘I called my surgery to book an appointment but was told by them they couldn’t because PHE was in control of the situation,’ she said.

‘In the end I went to a travel clinic and paid for it.’

PHE said it did not issue such an instruction and GPs used their clinical judgement.

Hepatitis A is a viral liver infection that causes a range of symptoms such as fever, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, sometimes leading to jaundice. It is often linked to foreign travel. People are advised to wash their hands properly to stop it spreading.