ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — As Pinellas County leads the state in the number of hepatitis A cases, a St. Petersburg doctor wants to make sure anyone who needs a vaccine is able to get one regardless of their ability to pay.

“If we have someone who's truly struggling, we find a way to make sure we see them,” said Dr. Bob Wallace. "My goal is to treat people the way you want to be treated yourself."

That motto is the basis of his practice, which is appropriately named “Love the Golden Rule.”

“Love the Golden Rule came about … from the fact I was working in the health department and working on the medical mobile van at the homeless shelters," Wallace said. "It was really hard to see how the patients had to sit in the parking lot at 92 degrees for eight hours and maybe not be seen."

Wallace still incorporates homeless care into his practice. On Wednesday, he worked with a local nonprofit to check on a group of homeless men camped out on the street just south of downtown.

"It is very rewarding. The main thing is I love to come to work every day ... even though I don't get paid and haven't been paid for a long time, I use my retirement to keep going,” he said.

Wallace also emphasized the importance of having a community fully vaccinated for hepatitis A.

“Hepatitis A is truly an epidemic in this community,” said Wallace. “The big push is to get everyone vaccinated because we can prevent people from getting infected."

Wallace said his practice is accepting new patients.

Emerald Morrow is a reporter with 10News WTSP. Like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter. You can also email her at emorrow@wtsp.com

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