From Feb. 1, Koreans in their 40s can receive free vaccination for the high-risk group of hepatitis A after if they take an antibody detection test and be identified to be without antibody.
The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) announced Friday that the free vaccination program, which targeted those in their 20s and 30 from Jan. 13, will include the 40s as well.
The 20- and 30-somethings had been vaccinated without taking the test because they usually had a low antibody possession rate. KCDC plans to send messages to those in their 40s and send them to the public health centers or designated medical facilities to receive the antibody test and provide vaccination.
According to the Act on Prevention and Management, the personal information of the 40s who have a medical history of hepatitis A treatment will be made public by the National Health Insurance.
Those in their 20s and 40s who have not been informed but received treatment before 2020 can get vaccination after registering as a new target, and take an antibody test if they visit designated medical institutions with a document containing the disease code.
“The number of Hepatitis A patients has considerably decreased, but small outbreaks are still occurring. Therefore, the high-risk group, including chronic liver disease patients, must get the vaccination," KCDC Director Jung Eun-kyeong said.
There were 17,638 hepatitis A patients in Korea last year, up a hefty 624 percent increase compared to 2,437 in 2018, and 206 hepatitis A patients were reported, a 42 percent drop from 358 over the period, according to the KCDC data.