More than half of high risk hepatitis B adults not properly vaccinated

A new study suggests that more than half of adults at high risk for hepatitis B infection are not properly vaccinated against the disease.

The research, conducted by Dr. Farah Ladak from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, examined data from 15,432 adults considered to be at high-risk for contracting the illness. The data was collected among participants in the 2007 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey, according to

More than half of the participants, 51.4 percent, reported that they were unvaccinated, despite at least 50 percent of those having had the opportunity to do so, based on their self-reported contact with a healthcare provider.

"This is a really simple thing that we could do and if somebody ends up getting the disease because we didn't make the effort, that's really a shame," Brown University researcher Dr. Brian Montague said, reports.

The study, which appears in the journal Infection, reported that high-risk individuals are more likely to have been vaccinated for hepatitis B if they have already been administered vaccines for pneumonia and influenza, or if they have been tested for HIV at a counseling site or drug treatment facility. Those tested for HIV in a correctional facility were less likely to be vaccinated.

"Given that the risks for HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C overlap, what we need is integrated testing and prevention programs and strategies that link those cases identified with effective treatment in the community," Montague said according to