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Commun Dis Public Health. 2004 Dec;7(4):306-11.

Increasing hepatitis B vaccine coverage in prisons in England and Wales.

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Prison Surveillance Unit, Health Protection Agency Centre for Infections, 61 Colindale Avenue, London NW9 5EQ.


The most frequently reported risk factor for hepatitis B infection in England and Wales is injecting drug use (38%). Since approximately 61% of injecting drug users (IDUs) had been imprisoned and less than 40% had received hepatitis B vaccine, a prison based hepatitis B vaccination programme was set up in 2001. At the 42 establishments participating in this study, all prisoners were offered vaccine at reception. Prisoners over 18 years were vaccinated using the 0, 7 and 21 days schedule and those under 18 years, using the 0, 1 and 2 months schedule. As far as possible a fourth dose was given to all after 12 months. In 2003, 14,163 prisoners received at least one dose of vaccine and altogether 26,265 doses were administered. A further 1111 prisoners reported they had already been vaccinated against hepatitis B. The median vaccine coverage rate was 17% (range 0-94%). Despite low coverage levels, the vaccination programme in prisons can be said to have vaccinated a sizable number of young, male prisoners, a group that have previously been shown to be at high risk of infection. The prisons which achieved vaccine coverage levels over 50% had designated nursing staff who ran the vaccination clinics.

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