Source National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Road NE, Mail Stop A19, Atlanta, GA 30333, United States.
BACKGROUND: In 1999, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS), issued a joint statement on thimerosal in vaccines, which advised clinicians to temporarily postpone the first dose of hepatitis B vaccine for infants born to hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg)-negative women. In 2005, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) updated the strategy to improve prevention of perinatal and early childhood hepatitis B virus (HBV) transmission.
OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the progress in hepatitis B birth dose vaccination coverage in birth year cohort from 1998 to 2007 and assess the impact of changes in ACIP recommendations on the birth dose coverage.
METHODS: Birth year cohort study of hepatitis B birth dose vaccination status of 200,865 children aged 19-35 months in the United States and by selected socio-demographic factors; percentage increases of hepatitis B birth dose vaccination coverage between two consecutive birth year cohorts from 1998 to 2007.
RESULTS: From 1998 to 1999, hepatitis B birth dose vaccination coverage declined overall in the United States and among selected socio-demographic groups (P<0.001). Conversely, from 1999 to 2007 hepatitis B birth dose vaccination coverage increased significantly by birth year cohort (P<0.001), from approximately 30% in the 1999 birth year cohort to approximately 60% in the 2007 birth year cohort. The first significant increase in hepatitis B birth dose vaccination coverage occurred from 2000 to 2001 birth year cohort. Coverage increases ranged from 8.4% to 11.9% (P<0.001) in the U.S. and across all socio-demographic strata. The second largest increase in hepatitis B birth dose vaccination coverage occurred from 2005 to 2006 birth year cohort in the U.S. and among almost all socio-demographic strata, ranging from 5.6% to 8.7% (P<0.001). Forty-one of the 50 states and the District of Columbia (80%) in the U.S. had increases in hepatitis B birth dose vaccination coverage from 2005 to 2006 birth year cohort.
CONCLUSIONS: The United States has made substantial progress in increasing hepatitis B birth dose vaccination and recovered from coverage declines associated with temporary postponement of the birth dose in 1999. The hepatitis B birth dose coverage in the U.S. remains substantially below the Healthy People 2020 target of 85%.