Hepatitis B Vaccination Rate Lagging In U.S.
When it comes to hepatitis B, relatively few students pursuing careers in healthcare are vaccinated during childhood, as recommended by U.S. health officials, researchers say.
Study leader Dr. Rania Tohme of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta analyzed hepatitis B immunization records of 4,075 healthcare students who matriculated at a university in the southeastern U.S. from January 2000 to January 2010, UPI.com reports.
The study, scheduled to be published in the August issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, found 59.8 percent of students had documentation of complete vaccination against hepatitis B and 83.8 percent were protected against hepatitis B infection when tested for hepatitis B antibodies.
These rates are lower than the U.S. government's Healthy People 2010 goal of 90 percent hepatitis B vaccination coverage among health care workers, Tohme says.
In 1995, the CDC Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices recommended routine vaccination of previously unvaccinated children ages 11-12 and vaccination for all children age 18 and under in 1999.
However, the majority of students with documented vaccination were recently vaccinated, either during or a few years prior to getting their college degree.
CDC and ACIP currently recommend vaccinating all infants at birth as well as all adolescents and at-risk adults who have not yet received the vaccine.