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Backing for teens to get hepatitis B vaccinations

Universal immunisation of teenagers with hepatitis B vaccine is feasible and acceptable in the UK, according to a new study.

Hepatitis B vaccine was

offered to all 11-12-year-

olds in Greater Glasgow secondary schools, in the study involving a member of the Government's Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.

The vast majority ­ 92 per cent ­ of the 10,800 pupils consented with 91.3 per cent receiving at least one dose. Two doses were given to 89.2 per cent of the teenagers, but only 80.3 per cent received three doses due to some loss to follow-up.

The study, published in the Public Health Laboratory Service's Communicable Disease and Public Health, was carried out over the academic year 2001/2 with a schedule of

zero, one and seven months.

Researchers concluded that a universal hepatitis B vaccination programme would be

acceptable as the uptake rate was as high as those for other vaccines, such as the DTP booster and Men C, received at school.

The study recommended a two-dose regimen, as in the US, because loss to follow-up was highest between doses two and three.

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