(HealthDay News) – Approximately half of all adults at high risk of hepatitis B infection are vaccinated against hepatitis B, and more than half miss opportunities to be vaccinated, according to a study published online Jan. 12 in Infection.

Farah Ladak, MD, from Brown University in Providence, RI, and colleagues analyzed data on a subset of 15,432 adults from the 2007 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey identified as high-risk for hepatitis B infection. They investigated factors which were associated with vaccination rates and viral transmissions.

The researchers found that 51.4% of high-risk adults remained unvaccinated, with more than 50% having missed an opportunity for vaccination. High-risk adults who were vaccinated against pneumonia and influenza were more likely to be vaccinated against hepatitis B than those who had not received these vaccinations (odds ratio [OR], 2.27 vs. 1.67). High-risk adults who were tested for HIV at a testing and counseling site or a drug treatment facility were more likely to be vaccinated than those who weren’t tested (OR, 1.78 vs. 1.73). However, individuals who were tested for HIV at a correctional facility were less likely to be vaccinated against hepatitis B (OR, 0.6).

“The results of this study, in combination with recommendations issued by the Institute of Medicine, underscore the inadequacy of vaccination coverage in high-risk adults and highlight areas of opportunity to bridge gaps in vaccination coverage,” the authors write. “Locations serving high-risk populations need to be made key partners in the national effort to reduce hepatitis B transmission.”

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