Local church offers up hep A vaccines to public - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Local church offers up hep A vaccines to public

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SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) — As San Diego continues to battle a massive hepatitis A outbreak, a local church is hoping to help keep some people healthy. 

University Christian Church opened its doors on Sunday for members of the community to get a warm meal and an important vaccine. 

There was a steady stream of vaccine recipients at the church Sunday during their monthly community breakfast. 

The breakfasts are popular with the homeless so organizers decided it was a good opportunity to target those most vulnerable for hepatitis a. 

"We have an alert in our congregation and [because] of the outbreak in San Diego County we decided we'd do something about it and offer those service to the homeless, to the population and our members to keep people safe," said church elder Patrick Haggerty.  

Janice McCombs is a volunteer at the church and joined many in the congregation in rolling up her sleeve for the first dose. 

"I had a friend who had a friend who contracted it and said it's no picnic if you contract it," said McCombs.  

San Diego County continues leading the state in cases. 

490 people contracted the virus since the outbreak began. 

18 have died and health officials say the only deaths statewide so far are in San Diego, which is why the health department continues to reach out to those most at risk.  

"I hear hep A is pretty dangerous, so I realized that I should get my shot," said vaccine recipient James Marciel.  

So far more than $80,000 Californians have received the vaccine. 

Federally-funded hep A vaccines are starting to run low. 

On Friday, Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for the outbreak. 

It allows the state to buy more and keep supporting outreach clinics like the one held Sunday and hopefully curb the outbreak. 

"With the health concern I think everyone should get one and we're trying to help that along," said Haggerty.  

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