Greater demand for Hepatitis A vaccine puts pressure on supplies

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — While most of us think of the city streets as being the frontlines of the battle to contain Hepatitis A, health care providers in clinics and doctors’ offices are also seeing the effects of the outbreak, with an increase in the demand for the vaccine.

At one community health clinic in Linda Vista operated by San Diego Family Care, the staff gives priority to those in the high-risk infection groups, those who are drug users and living on the street.

Yet what’s becoming more evident is the number of people who are not in those groups, but are still asking for some kind of protection from the virus. As one indication of the growing demand, the clinic said it had administered the Hepatitis A vaccines to 250 adults in the last two months.

On our visit, the staff showed us just a single dose left from the supply sent by the county. CEO Roberta Feinberg said the clinic was waiting for additional supplies to be sent from the County Health and Human Service Department.

The County currently receives a supply of public vaccine from the State of California which are provided through funds from the federal Centers for Disease Control. The County also purchases vaccine from private sources.

According to the County, there is no vaccine shortage, but supplies are limited and should be prioritized for those in the high-risk groups. With the vaccine in limited supply, Feinberg said she has been forced to spend thousands of dollars each month, purchasing vaccine from private companies, at about $700 for ten doses.

The County estimates close to 76 thousand people in San Diego County have been vaccinated since early March.

Categories: Hepatitis A, Local San Diego News