A model program for hepatitis B vaccination and education of schoolchildren in rural China
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Incomplete hepatitis B virus (HBV) vaccine coverage and poor HBV-related knowledge in China leave millions of children unprotected from this life-threatening infection. To address these gaps, a pilot program for HBV education and vaccination was launched in rural China.
In 2006, public and private organizations in the US and China collaborated to provide HBV education and vaccination to 55,000 school-age children in the remote, highly HBV-endemic area of Qinghai Province. The impact of the educational program on HBV-related knowledge was evaluated among more than 2,800 elementary school students.
Between September 2006 and March 2007, the three-shot hepatitis B vaccine series was administered to 54,680 students, with a completion rate of 99.4%. From low pre-existing knowledge levels, classroom educational sessions statistically significantly increased knowledge about HBV risks, symptoms, transmission, and prevention.
This program offers an effective and sustainable model for HBV catch-up vaccination and education that can be replicated throughout China, as well as in other underserved HBV-endemic regions, as a strategy to reduce chronic HBV infection, liver failure, and liver cancer.
KeywordsHepatitis B Vaccine Education China
This project was supported by a donation from the ZeShan Foundation (Hong Kong) and by the Asian Liver Center at Stanford University through private donations. The authors thank Jordan Su for her work on coordinating this project.
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