Hepatitis A Outbreak: Free vaccination clinic for at-risk popula - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Hepatitis A Outbreak: Free vaccination clinic for at-risk populations

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SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) - More than 250 people received shots against hepatitis A at a clinic in downtown San Diego Thursday, as efforts continued to contain an outbreak that has killed 16 and sickened more than 400.
   
The clinic, in the community concourse outside city hall, was scheduled to run through 4 p.m.
   
The event was hosted by the city of San Diego, Downtown San Diego Partnership and American Medical Response, which provides the city with ambulance services.
   
The outbreak, which started in November, has primarily hit the homeless and drug users. However, health officials encourage other groups of people to get vaccinated, including first responders, food handlers, health care professionals, service workers who interact with the homeless, workers in substance abuse programs and public transit employees.
   
More than 22,000 San Diegans have been vaccinated so far.

While the majority of the cases have been confined to the City of San Diego and to the homeless population there, El Cajon in the East County has also had many cases that have also affected its homeless population. 

City officials say they've set up hand-washing stations and deployed the police department's homeless outreach team with nurses to vaccinate several hundred high-risk people in the community. 

They're also power-washing streets and benches where the homeless congregate, washing public restrooms with a cleanser that's effective against the virus, and have asked trolley officials to power-wash trolley platforms.

The city is also offering hepatitis A shots at public libraries.

There are a number of opportunities available for people to get free hepatitis A vaccinations and sanitary kits. If someone is interested in a vaccine, they should call 211 or go to 211sandiego.org

To avoid infection, public health officials recommend people wash their hands regularly after using the bathroom and before preparing or eating food. Hands and arms should be washed with warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds and then thoroughly rinsed with clean running water and properly dried.

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