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Millions of U.S. kids should get hepatitis shot, health panel says

ATLANTA >> A scientific panel is recommending that more than 2 million U.S. kids get vaccinated against hepatitis A.

Thirteen years ago, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended hepatitis A shots for all U.S. children at age 1. Today, the panel said the shots should be given to older children who weren’t vaccinated earlier, including 14- to 18-year-olds who turned 1 before the recommendation was made.

The panel also recommended the shots for every person with HIV. About 1.1 million Americans are estimated to have HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. People with HIV tend to develop more severe hepatitis A illnesses.

U.S. hepatitis A infections and deaths have risen in the last two years, spurred by outbreaks among the homeless and drug users.

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