Viral hepatitis in Germany: poor vaccination coverage and little knowledge about transmission in target groups

Schenkel, Karl; Radun, Doris; Bremer, Viviane; Bocter, Nikolaus; Hamouda, Osamah
January 2008
BMC Public Health;2008, Vol. 8 Issue 1, p132
Academic Journal
Background: In Germany, vaccination against hepatitis B is recommended for infants, children and adolescents since 1995 and for specific target groups since 1982. Little is known about knowledge about viral hepatitis and attitudes toward hepatitis B vaccination-factors likely to influence vaccine uptake. Methods: In order to estimate vaccination coverage in adult target groups and in the overall adult population and to assess knowledge and attitudes, we conducted a nationwide cross-sectional telephone survey among 412 persons in November 2004. We defined participants as being vaccinated if they reported at least one previous vaccination against hepatitis B. Results: Vaccination coverage (vc) standardised for age, sex and residence was 29.6% in the general population and 58.2% in target groups for hepatitis B vaccination. Particular gaps in vaccine coverage were detected among health care workers (vc: 69.5%) and chronically ill persons (vc: 22.0%). Knowledge on risk factors and transmission was far below expectations, whereas the acceptance of vaccination in the majority of the population (79.0%) was good. Conclusion: We conclude that educational measures could lead to a higher vaccination uptake in adult target groups.


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