Poor hepatitis B vaccine coverage in injecting drug users: England, 1995 and 1996

Commun Dis Public Health. 1999 Sep;2(3):174-7.


Self-reported data on vaccination status collected in 1995 and 1996 from seven of the 39 drug agencies in England that took part in the unlinked anonymous HIV prevalence monitoring programme of injecting drug users were analysed to estimate hepatitis B vaccine coverage in this population. Twenty-seven per cent (374/1366) of injecting drug users (IDUs) reported vaccination against hepatitis B and 13% (172) reported having received three doses of vaccine. Eighteen per cent of the IDUs who reported vaccination (66/374) were found to have a marker in their saliva of past/current hepatitis B infection (antibody to hepatitis B core (anti-HBc)) compared with 23% (232/992) of those unvaccinated. Over half (760/1366) of all IDUs tested reported not having been vaccinated against hepatitis B were negative for anti-HBc, and therefore remained susceptible to infection. Targeted vaccination for IDUs against hepatitis B in England has had little success so far, suggesting that enhanced or alternative strategies need to be adopted.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • England / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Hepatitis B / epidemiology
  • Hepatitis B / immunology
  • Hepatitis B Vaccines*
  • Humans
  • Immunization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Needle-Exchange Programs*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Substance Abuse Treatment Centers*
  • Substance Abuse, Intravenous*


  • Hepatitis B Vaccines