Simultaneous Administration of Pediatric Vaccines Could Boost Hep A Coverage

Reported hepatitis A vaccinations consistently fell below potentially achievable coverage between 2008 and 2017, highlighting the need for to improve simultaneous administration of childhood vaccines, according to the CDC.

Hepatitis A vaccination coverage consistently falls below its potential, according to research from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In a poster presentation at IDWeek 2019, CDC mathematical statistician Zhen Zhao, PhD, and colleagues showed that ≥2 doses of hepatitis A coverage could be improved if opportunities for simultaneous administration with other childhood vaccines weren’t missed.

Filling those gaps would have pushed vaccinations past the 85% target of Healthy People 2020 for children born in 2015. States with the greatest potentially achievable vaccination coverage included Connecticut, Delaware, Alabama, Illinois, Oregon, Rhode Island, California, Nevada, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

“Evidence-based interventions such as establishment of standing orders, use of provider reminders, and use of immunization information systems are recommended to increase hep A coverage among young children,” the study abstract noted.

Potentially achievable coverage for ≥2 hep A by 24 months was at least 10 percentage points higher than reported coverage across birth years 2007 to 2015, according to the study, which analyzed National Immunization Survey-Child data for 2008-2017 in the United States.

All selected socio-demographic groups saw greater potentially achievable vaccination coverage than reported coverage, with greatest difference (31.7 percentage points) reported for non-Hispanic black children.

The abstract, Potentially achievable hepatitis A vaccination coverage with simultaneous administration of vaccines among young children in the United States, was presented in a poster session on October 3 at IDWeek 2019 in Washington DC.

Simultaneous administration of childhood vaccines is a focus of health officials hoping to increase vaccination rates for 14 vaccine-preventable diseases targeted by childhood immunization recommendations and meet Healthy People 2020 goals. The Healthy People 2020 initiative was launched by the US Department of Health and Human Services in 2010 and includes about 1300 objectives in 42 topic areas.

The percentage of US children who haven’t received any of their recommendations has rising in recent years to 1.1% in 2917, up from 0.7% in 2013 as the anti-vaxxer movement has spread. Countries like England and France also have seen decreases in vaccine coverage.

That contributed to a record year for measles cases that included 1250 cases of measles reported from January 1 through October 3. Still, the US maintained its measles elimination status.

Hepatitis A affected an estimated 6700 people in the United States in 2017.