2017 New Jersey Revised Statutes
TITLE 18A - EDUCATION
Section 18A:61D-8 - Findings, declarations relative to hepatitis B vaccinations

18A:61D-8. Findings, declarations relative to hepatitis B vaccinations

1. The Legislature finds and declares that:

a. Hepatitis B is a serious viral disease that attacks the liver and can cause lifelong infection, cirrhosis of the liver, liver cancer, liver failure and even death; after tobacco, hepatitis B is the world's leading known cause of cancer;

b. Hepatitis B virus is spread through blood and other body fluids and has been shown in some instances to remain infectious on environmental surfaces for at least a month at room temperature; in some settings, the virus can be up to 100 times more contagious than the virus that causes AIDS;

c. Individuals are at greater risk of hepatitis B virus infection who: have multiple sex partners; use injection drugs; have household contact with an individual who has lifelong hepatitis B infection; and travel to areas of the world where hepatitis B is common;

d. In 1999, an estimated 80,000 individuals in the United States were infected with the hepatitis B virus, and one out of 20 individuals in the United States will be infected with the virus at some time in their lives; approximately 30% of individuals who are infected show no signs or symptoms and can unknowingly pass the virus to others;

e. The highest rate of hepatitis B disease occurs in individuals 20 to 49 years of age; in 1998, 205 hepatitis B cases were reported in New Jersey, with 60% of those occurring in individuals 25 to 44 years of age;

f. Hepatitis B vaccine, which has been available since 1982, prevents hepatitis B disease and its serious consequences; the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends routine vaccination of individuals zero to 18 years of age for hepatitis B;

g. As of September 2001, the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services requires hepatitis B immunization prior to school entry for all children in the State, with a sixth grade catch-up dose for those not already immunized; and

h. Since the hepatitis B immunization requirement for school entry in the State was recently adopted and the highest rates of hepatitis B infection in the nation and State are occurring in individuals between 20 and 50 years of age, it is appropriate for the State to require every high school student,and each new student enrolling on a full-time basis in a program leading to an academic degree at an institution of higher education in the State,to be vaccinated for hepatitis B.

L.2002,c.58,s.1.

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