PARKERSBURG, W.Va. — The Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department announced Monday Hepatitis A vaccines have been made available at no cost for first responders and volunteers that lack insurance coverage or are underinsured.

Individuals who qualify include fire fighters, EMS employees, law enforcement officers and individuals who are part of the American Red Cross or similar organizations.

The vaccine is also available for free for people who do not have insurance or are underinsured. People with Medicaid or private health insurance will be billed for the vaccine.

West Virginia is now among 10 states with an outbreak of Hepatitis A, primarily among people who use drugs or are homeless. Hepatitis A is contagious and is spread by people not washing their hands.

According to the health department, the vaccine is a two-part shot. A second dose is recommended six months after the first shot.

The Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department serves residents of Calhoun, Pleasants, Ritchie, Roane, Wirt and Wood counties.

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