Hepatitis B virus infection is a major cause of cirrhosis and liver cancer in the United States.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has recommended a comprehensive strategy to eliminate Hepatitis B transmission.
This includes the prevention of perinatal Hepatitis B transmission, and universal vaccination of infants.
The strategy also includes catch-up vaccination of unvaccinated children, and vaccination of unvaccinated adults at increased risk for infection.
|During 2004, 35% of adults aged 18 to 49 years received Hep B vaccine|
|Journal of the American Medical Association|
The incidence of acute Hepatitis B has declined by 75%, from 9 per 100,000 population in 1990 to 2 per 100,000 population in 2004.
The greatest declines were among children and adolescents.
Incidence remains highest among adults, who accounted for approximately 95% of the estimated 60,000 new infections in 2004.
Dr Weinbaum and colleagues analyzed data from the 2004 National Health Interview Survey to measure Hepatitis B vaccination among adults.
The National Health Interview Survey is a multipurpose household health survey of a civilian of the United States, conducted by in-person interview.
The investigators estimated Hepatitis B vaccination coverage from self reports of sampled adults.
The analysis was restricted to adults aged 18 to 49 years, age groups that account for approximately 80% of adult Hepatitis B infections.
The investigators found that, during 2004, 35% of adults aged 18 to 49 years received Hepatitis B vaccine, including 45% of adults at high risk for Hepatitis B.
Hepatitis B vaccination also was associated with certain population characteristics, including female sex, and non-Hispanic ethnicity.
The team noted that higher educational achievement was also associated with Hepatitis B vaccination.
Persons with a routine source of health care, and with health insurance were more likely to report vaccination than those with no routine source of health care.
The same demographic and health-care use characteristics were associated with higher likelihood of vaccination among persons at high risk as among others.
In a multivariate model, after controlling for age, sex, education, occupation, and HIV test history, high risk remained a predictor of Hepatitis B vaccination.
Dr Weinbaum's team commented, “To accelerate elimination of Hepatitis B transmission in the United States, public health programs and clinical care providers should implement strategies to ensure that adults at high risk are offered Hepatitis B vaccine.”