Hepatitis B Vaccine Program

PUBLISHED: Jul 28, 2017
Relevant to: Ambulatory Care, Behavioral Health, Critical Access Hospitals, Home Health, Hospitals, Long Term Care, Medical Office

In honor of World Hepatitis Day StayAlert! is reviewing key aspects of Hepatitis B Vaccine Program for healthcare organizations. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2014, an estimated 19,200 acute Hepatitis B cases occurred in 2014 and an estimated 850,000–2.2 million persons in the United States have chronic Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. Chronic infection is an even greater problem globally, affecting approximately 240 million persons. An estimated 786,000 persons worldwide die from HBV-related liver disease each year.

HBV can survive outside the body at least 7 days and still be capable of causing infection during that time. HBV is transmitted through activities that involve percutaneous or mucosal contact with infectious blood or body fluids (e.g., semen, saliva), including:

  • Sex with an infected partner
  • Injection drug use that involves sharing needles, syringes, or drug-preparation equipment
  • Birth to an infected mother
  • Contact with blood or open sores of an infected person
  • Needle sticks or sharp instrument exposures
  • Sharing items such as razors or toothbrushes with an infected person

HBV transmission is especially concerning in health care environments. The risk of transmission via needle sticks or sharp instrument exposures puts both employees and patients at risk. Therefore, hospitals should have a Hepatitis B vaccine program in place.

A comprehensive Hepatitis B vaccine program for a healthcare organization should include:

  • Offering the Hepatitis B vaccine, free of charge, to all at-risk employees.
    • Note: At-risk employees are determined by their category-of-work assignment.
  • Documenting that the employee has been offered and received the Hepatitis B vaccination
    • Note: Documentation should be maintained in employee’s personnel file.
  • Documentation that the employee has been offered but has declined the Hepatitis B vaccination
    • Note: Documentation should be maintained in employee’s personnel file.

Included with today’s notice are relevant policies related to the development and implementation of a Hepatitis B Vaccine Program.

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