(HealthDay News) – Hepatitis A vaccine (HepA) coverage is low among adolescents nationally, but rates are higher among states with a vaccination requirement, according to a study published online Jan. 23 in Pediatrics.

Christina G. Dorell, MD, MPH, from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues examined data from the 2009 National Immunization Survey-Teen, which comprised 20,066 adolescents aged 13–17 years. The correlation between HepA initiation and sociodemographic characteristics was stratified according to state groups, defined as: group 1, universal child vaccination since 1999; group 2, consideration for child vaccination since 1999; group 3, universal child vaccination at 1 year of age since 2006.

The researchers found that national one-dose HepA coverage among adolescents was 42% in 2009. The two-dose series was completed by approximately 70% of vaccinees. Among state groups 1, 2, and 3, one-dose coverage was 74.3, 54.0, and 27.8%, respectively. States with a vaccination requirement and adolescents whose providers recommended HepA had the highest adjusted prevalence ratios of vaccination initiation.

“HepA coverage was low among most adolescents in the United States in 2009, leaving a large population susceptible to hepatitis A infection maturing into adulthood,” the authors write.

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