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MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2019 Feb 15;68(6):153-156. doi: 10.15585/mmwr.mm6806a6.

Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices for Use of Hepatitis A Vaccine for Persons Experiencing Homelessness.


Hepatitis A (HepA) vaccination is recommended routinely for children at age 12-23 months, for persons who are at increased risk for hepatitis A virus (HAV) infection, and for any person wishing to obtain immunity. Persons at increased risk for HAV infection include international travelers to areas with high or intermediate hepatitis A endemicity, men who have sex with men, users of injection and noninjection drugs, persons with chronic liver disease, person with clotting factor disorders, persons who work with HAV-infected primates or with HAV in a research laboratory setting, and persons who anticipate close contact with an international adoptee from a country of high or interme-diate endemicity (1-3). Persons experiencing homelessness are also at higher risk for HAV infection and severe infection-associated outcomes. On October 24, 2018, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)* recommended that all persons aged 1 year and older experiencing homelessness be routinely immunized against HAV. The ACIP Hepatitis Vaccines Work Group conducted a systematic review of the evidence for administering vaccine to persons experiencing homelessness, which included a set of criteria assessing the benefits and adverse events associated with vaccination. HepA vaccines are highly immunogenic, and >95% of immunocompetent adults develop protective antibody within 4 weeks of receipt of 1 dose of the vaccine (1). HAV infections are acquired primarily by the fecal-oral route by either person-to-person transmission or via ingestion of contaminated food or water. Among persons experiencing homelessness, effective implementation of alternative strategies to prevent exposure to HAV, such as strict hand hygiene, is difficult because of living conditions among persons in this population. Integrating routine HepA vaccination into health care services for persons experiencing homelessness can reduce the size of the at-risk population over time and thereby reduce the risk for large-scale outbreaks.

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