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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 93, Issue 4, pp 281–284 | Cite as

Measuring Hepatitis B Uptake in a New Universal Infant Program

  • Meenakshi Dawar
  • Simon Dobson
  • Arlene Kallos
  • Carol LaJeunesse
  • Shelagh Weatherill
  • Patricia DalyEmail author
Article

Abstract

Background: Vancouver-Richmond Health Board has the highest reported rate of hepatitis B in Canada, including an annual average of 25 cases in children under 12 years of age, based on reports from 1994–1997 inclusive. The current provincial adolescent grade-six hepatitis B immunization program does not protect against childhood infection. The regional health board implemented universal infant hepatitis B immunization in September 1998.

Method: Immunization coverage data were obtained on a random sample of 191 infants born in March 1999 one year after initiation of the program.

Results: By eight months of age, 97.9% of children had received some vaccinations. 73.8% of infants had received three doses of hepatitis B vaccine and 12.6% had received two doses. In comparison, 89% had received three doses and 7.9% two doses of DPTPHib vaccine. 13.1% of infants had not received any hepatitis B vaccine. For a majority (67%) of these children, their physician’s lack of awareness or lack of acceptance of the program constituted the reason for no hepatitis B vaccine uptake. Only one parent cited adverse publicity as the reason for refusing vaccination.

Interpretation: This survey reveals a successful first year of the program without harm to the pre-existing childhood vaccination programs. Hepatitis B vaccine uptake can be improved by increased awareness among physicians and parents.

Résumé

Contexte: Le conseil de santé de Vancouver-Richmond déclare le plus haut taux d’hépatite B au Canada, notamment une moyenne annuelle de 25 cas chez les enfants de moins de 12 ans selon les rapports de 1994 à 1997 inclusivement. Le programme de vaccination contre l’hépatite B en vigueur dans la province pour les adolescents de sixième année n’offre aucune protection contre l’infection durant l’enfance. Le conseil de santé régional a mis en oeuvre un programme universel de vaccination des nourrissons contre l’hépatite B en septembre 1998.

Méthode: Obtention de données sur la couverture vaccinale à partir d’un échantillon aléatoire de 191 nourrissons nés en mars 1999, un an après le début du programme.

Résultats: À huit mois, 97,9 % des enfants avaient reçu certains vaccins: 73,8 % des nourrissons avaient reçu trois doses du vaccin contre l’hépatite B, et 12,6 % en avaient reçu deux doses (à titre de comparaison, 89 % avaient reçu trois doses et 7,9 % avaient reçu deux doses du vaccin contre DPTP-HIB); 13,1 % des nourrissons n’avaient pas été vaccinés contre l’hépatite B. Pour la majorité (67 %) des enfants non vaccinés contre l’hépatite B, c’est le médecin qui ignorait l’existance du programme ou n’y adhérait pas. Un seul parent a dit avoir refusé le vaccin parce qu’il avait mauvaise presse.

Interprétation: Le sondage indique que la première année du programme a été fructueuse et n’a causé aucun tort aux programmes préexistants de vaccination des enfants. L’acceptation du vaccin contre l’hépatite B peut être améliorée par une sensibilisation accrue des médecins et des parents.

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Meenakshi Dawar
    • 1
  • Simon Dobson
    • 2
  • Arlene Kallos
    • 2
  • Carol LaJeunesse
    • 2
  • Shelagh Weatherill
    • 3
  • Patricia Daly
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Health Care & EpidemiologyUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Vaccine Evaluation CentreVancouverCanada
  3. 3.Communicable Disease Control, Vancouver/Richmond Health BoardVancouverCanada

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