San Diego

LAPD to Get Hepatitis A Vaccines, Under County Plan

Los Angeles County Supervisors voted unanimously on a motion that will ensure first responders to get the hepatitis A vaccine.

Officers are most at risk of being exposed, with one officer saying that every day out in certain locations it is potentially hazardous.

Police are concerned about the rise in hepatitis A cases along Skid Row.

Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection, often contracted through contact with feces when people don't properly wash their Hands.

The union representing the LAPD rank and file says they were told they could only get 100 doses of the hepatitis A vaccine for their members. They say one officer has already contracted hepatitis A.

In a letter to the LA County Board of supervisors, the union requested about 1.600 doses of the vaccine for officers working in at-risk areas such as Skid Row.

"Our first responders are the first point of contact with many of the homeless," said Supervisor Kathryn Barger.

The supervisors have instructed the LA County Department of Public Health to connect with law enforcement and first responders to give them access to the vaccine.

"We offer free vaccinations at all 14 of our clinics," said health director Barbara Ferrer. "We have provided well over 3,500 doses of vaccine at this point to first responders. A lot has gone to the county. We're working right now to set up with LAPD four clinics."

The process starts this week with visits to certain police stations.

"They are hearing us they are listening and that they are coming forward with a plan of action to vaccinate," Mark Cronin, the director of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union.

There are now 29 cases of hepatitis A in LA County. There are hundreds more cases in San Diego County. Gov. Jerry Brown declared an outbreak in September.

A report is expected back to the supervisors in 14 days. Supervisors also asked the health department to do a review of the current hepatitis A vaccination supply for the county.

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