Health Department offers free Hepatitis A vaccines following outbreak

KENSINGTON (WPVI) -- Health officials in Philadelphia continue efforts to control an outbreak of Hepatitis A. Free vaccinations were offered to people in Kensington on Tuesday.
A little pinch for protection.

Outside the McPherson Square Library, workers from the Philadelphia Department of Public Health were set up to offer free Hepatitis A vaccinations.

The city has seen a spike in cases.

Typically there are 2 to 6 per year. In 2019 so far, there have been more than 150.

A public health emergency was declared last week.
Related: Hepatitis A outbreak: Public health emergency declared in Philadelphia
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Hepatitis A cases spike in Philadelphia. Registered Nurse Ali Gorman reports during Action News at 5 p.m. on August 2, 2019.

The epicenter of the outbreak is Kensington, a neighborhood hit hard by the opioid epidemic and with a large homeless population.

Hepatits A is a liver infection, that's transmitted through personal contact, or contaminated food or water. It can spread quickly when people don't have good hygiene or access to a bathroom.

Ryan Anderson and Lisa Hutt work for Merakey, a facility that helps people struggling with addiction, homelessness and mental illness.

During their outreach, they were encouraged to be vaccinated.
"I figure I'll be a good example, get one of these shots and show em its painless," said Anderson.

Hutt noted, "And every information I get, I bring it back to our clients. I just got info when they'll be out here I feel good but I'll feel even better when I can help someone else get theirs," she added.

The best way to stop the outbreak is by getting as many people vaccinated as they can. The health department plans to be out here again on Thursday.
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