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Aust N Z J Public Health. 2010 Apr;34(2):130-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-6405.2010.00496.x.

Vaccination against hepatitis A and B in persons subject to homelessness in inner Sydney: vaccine acceptance, completion rates and immunogenicity.

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1
School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. r.poulos@unsw.edu.au

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To determine acceptance, completion rates and immunogenicity of the standard vaccination schedule for hepatitis A (HAV) and B (HBV) in persons subject to homelessness.

METHODS:

A convenience sample of clients (n=201) attending a medical clinic for homeless and disadvantaged persons in Sydney was enrolled. Serological screening for HAV and HBV was undertaken. An appropriate vaccination program was instituted. Post-vaccination serology determined serological response.

RESULTS:

Although many clients had serological evidence of past infection, at least 138 (69%) clients had the potential to benefit from vaccination. For hepatitis A and B vaccinations, completion rates were 73% (73 of 100 clients) and 75% (69 of 92 clients), respectively; after vaccination, protective antibody was found in 98.2% (56 of 57) and 72% (36 of 50) of clients, respectively.

CONCLUSION:

A successful vaccination program can be mounted with a vulnerable population. We consider a clinic with a well-established history of acceptance and utilisation by the target group; a low staff turnover and regular clientele; inclusion of vaccination as part of routine client care; and counselling (part of pre- and post-serological testing) essential components in achieving good vaccination completion rates.

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