Immunize to Prevent and Control Hepatitis A Outbreaks in Homeless and Illicit Drug Users

Hepatitis A Outbreak Situation Update

Outbreaks of hepatitis A are occurring among persons who are homeless and/or using illicit drugs in San Diego County and Santa Cruz County. To prevent and control hepatitis A outbreaks, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and the Alameda County Public Health Department (ACPHD) recommend offering Hepatitis A vaccine to persons who are homeless or who might be using illicit injection or non-injection drugs.  Although there has been no increase in reported hepatitis A cases in Alameda County, ACPHD encourages hepatitis A vaccination to prevent an outbreak from occurring locally.  Please see the CDPH advisory for more details about the outbreaks and immunization recommendations.

Hepatitis A Prevention by Immunization

Hepatitis A Vaccine
While two doses of Hepatitis A vaccine separated by 6 months are recommended for full disease protection, high levels of protection are reached from just one dose.  Any person needing vaccine should be referred first to their regular source of primary care. If the client’s regular source of primary care does not have the vaccine in stock (which would, hopefully, be unusual), they should be able to refer to a local pharmacy.

Medi-Cal (both fee for service and Medi-Cal managed care) covers hepatitis A vaccine without need for any prior authorization.  If a client has Medi-Cal and their regular source of primary care does not carry the vaccine, they can be referred to an in-network pharmacy.  To determine an in-network pharmacy, the client can call the member services phone number on the back of their Medi-Cal card.

Uninsured clients can find hepatitis vaccine a few different ways.  Uninsured clients who are registered patients at the clinics participating in the Vaccines for Adults (VFA) program can be vaccinated there.  Other uninsured clients who are not registered with a participating VFA program clinic can receive free vaccines at the Family Justice Center immunization clinic held on Thursday afternoons from 1-4pm in Oakland, or other clinics listed here.  We request that if clients will be referred to get vaccinated at Family Justice Center, that the referring provider call in advance to 510-267-3230 to ensure the clinic is prepared to receive adults during back-to-school clinics in August.  
The Alameda County Public Health Department is also working on securing additional Hepatitis A vaccine doses to be able to respond quickly should there be any increased disease activity in our community.

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