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Hepatitis B vaccination timing: Results from demographic health surveys in 47 countries
Authors: Schweitzer, Aparna; Akmatov, Manas K.; and Krause, Gérard
Source: Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 95(3): 199–209G; doi: 10.2471/BLT.16.178822
Topic(s): Child health
Hepatitis B
Country: More than one region
  Multiple Regions
Published: MAR 2017
Abstract: Objective To examine the impact of hepatitis B vaccination schedules and types of vaccines on hepatitis B vaccination timing. Methods We used data for 211 643 children from demographic and health surveys in 47 low- and middle-income countries (median study year 2012). Data were from vaccination cards and maternal interviews. We grouped countries according to the vaccination schedule and type of vaccine used (monovalent or combination). For each country, we calculated hepatitis B vaccination coverage and timely receipt of vaccine doses. We used multivariable logistic regression models to study the effect of vaccination schedules and types on vaccination delay. Findings Substantial delays in vaccination were observed even in countries with fairly high coverage of all doses. Median delay was 1.0 week (interquartile range, IQR: 0.3 to 3.6) for the first dose (n?=?108 626 children) and 3.7 weeks (IQR: 1.4 to 9.3) for the third dose (n?=?101 ?542). We observed a tendency of lower odds of delays in vaccination schedules starting at 6 and at 9 weeks of age. For the first vaccine dose, we recorded lower odds of delays for combination vaccines than for monovalent vaccines (adjusted odds ratio, aOR: 0.76, 95% confidence interval, CI: 0.71 to 0.81). Conclusion Wide variations in hepatitis B vaccination coverage and adherence to vaccination schedules across countries underscore the continued need to strengthen national immunization systems. Timely initiation of the vaccination process might lead to timely receipt of successive doses and improved overall coverage. We suggest incorporating vaccination timing as a performance indicator of vaccination programmes to complement coverage metrics.