I volunteer with an organization doing hands-on work with...

Question: 

I volunteer with an organization doing hands-on work with inner city drug addicts and the homeless. We have close contact w/people (blood and fluid). We also work side by side with recovering addicts preparing and serving meals to 300 people per day. Can I be vaccinated for Hep A for free?

Answer: 

The hepatitis A vaccine is recommended and provided free to people at high risk of hepatitis A infection.  It is also recommended, but not provided free, for people likely to come in contact with or spread the hepatitis A virus, including food handlers.  For more informaiton about hepatitis A and the vaccine, including a list of people eligible for the free vaccine, see the HealthLink BC File: Hepatitis A Vaccine

You would not be eligible for the free hepatitis A vaccine based solely on the criteria you have provided. However, you may be eligible based on other criteria. For this reason, we recommend that you contact your local public health unit and ask to speak with a public health nurse who can assess your situation further and tell you whether or not you are eligible for the free vaccine. Anyone not eligible for the free hepatitis A vaccine can purchase it at most pharmacies and travel clinics.  
 
A public health nurse can also provide you with information regarding any other vaccines that may be recommended for you.  For example, the hepatitis B vaccine is recommended and provided free to people born in 1980 and later and to people at high risk of hepatitis B infection, including people who have contact with blood and body fluids in their jobs/volunteer work.