News from Hepatitis Week of October 5, 2003 / Vol. 3 No. 40
Study Shows Need for New Strategies to Improve Vaccination Rates for Hepatitis A

A new study suggests that health officials must come up with new strategies for getting parents to realize that their children need to be vaccinated for hepatitis A by the time they enter school.

As reported in the October issue of Pediatrics, researchers from a variety of public health organizations, both national and local, surveyed the parents of kindergarteners in Butte County, California, in 2000. Of 896 surveys sent, 648 (72 percent) were completed.

The surveys revealed that 62 percent of the children received one dose of hepatitis A vaccine and 42 percent received the requisite two doses. An optimal vaccination rate is 90 percent.

These low vaccination rates occurred even though an agressive campaign to convince parents to vaccinate their children was being conducted in the community.

The top excuses used by parents for not vaccinating their children were lack of a doctor's recommendation and lack of parental awareness of hepatitis A vaccine, according to the study.

The researchers expresseed the hope that their findings would facilitate the development of vaccination strategies to help communities improve vaccination rates.

Other sources: Pediatrics. 2003 Oct;112(4):E269