Objective: To assess the presence of antibody to hepatitis B surface antigen (anti-HBs) at postvaccination testing in Minnesota health care workers receiving recombinant hepatitis B vaccines, and to identify risk factors for lacking anti-HBs following hepatitis B vaccination.
Design: Retrospective cohort study.
Setting: Ten acute care hospitals in Minnesota.
Participants: A total of 595 health care workers who had received hepatitis B vaccine (Recombivax HB or Engerix-B) between June 1987 and December 1991 and who underwent postvaccination testing for anti-HBs within 6 months after receiving the third dose of vaccine.
Main outcome measure: Presence or absence of anti-HBs following hepatitis B vaccination.
Results: Five variables were independently associated with lacking anti-HBs by multivariate analysis: vaccine brand, smoking status, gender, age, and body mass index. Stratifying by vaccine brand demonstrated that age (P = .01), body mass index (P < .01), and smoking status (P < .01) were associated with lacking anti-HBs only for Recombivax HB recipients; and gender (P = .03) was associated with lacking anti-HBs only for Engerix-B recipients. After controlling for smoking status, age, gender, and body mass index, recipients of Recombivax HB were more likely to lack anti-HBs than recipients of Engerix-B (relative risk, 2.3; 95% confidence interval, 1.1 to 4.7; P = .02).
Conclusions: Results indicate that certain populations of health care workers are at increased risk of not responding to hepatitis B vaccination. Further studies evaluating immunogenicity of currently available recombinant hepatitis B vaccines in persons at high risk for primary vaccine failure are needed.