North County doctor: If you live in San Diego County, get vaccinated for Hepatitis A

Posted at 6:10 PM, Sep 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-20 21:10:01-04

POWAY, Calif. (KGTV) - Who should get vaccinated against Hepatitis A? Everybody.

It's true, the hepatitis A outbreak is hitting the homeless population around downtown San Diego the hardest but even a North County doctor is advising her patients the vaccine is a good idea for most everyone.

"I felt it be best if I get protected against the current outbreak," Beverly Asbill-Gumbs said. She joined hundreds of others at the downtown library to take advantage of free vaccinations against Hepatitis A.

RELATED: Vaccination, sanitation and education plan to end hepatitis A outbreak

The virus is most commonly spread through direct contact among those without access to adequate hygiene, which is why it's hit the homeless population so hard.

But what about other parts of the county; more insulated from the heart of the outbreak?

"So, I don't want people to be inappropriately concerned but i do think there needs to be some awareness," Dr. Elizabeth Salada, of Palomar Health in Poway, said.

RELATED: Health officials say Los Angeles hepatitis A cases tied to San Diego outbreak

Salada serves patients from largely affluent neighborhoods. So, you might be surprised to hear her advise to them on getting vaccinated for Hepatitis A.

"I do believe it's probably prudent for people to get vaccinated if they can," Salada said. "Just the fact that it's in the community and we're a very mobile society and we touch things that other people have touched, then, we're at risk."

The recent scare at a popular Pacific Beach restaurant -where a worker was discovered to be infected- points out the risk can pop-up anywhere.

RELATED: El Cajon joins in sanitation campaign to stop hepatitis A outbreak

"We do have an obligation to each other. Number one by good hygiene and hand washing and number two by vaccinating if appropriate," Salada said.

For the downtown area, the City of San Diego will be offering free hepatitis A vaccinations Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017, for at-risk populations, particularly homeless individuals. Vaccinations will be given by qualified providers at Golden Hall, 202 C St., from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.