Weekly poll: Hepatitis B protection for healthcare workers

By: May 21st, 2012 Email This Post Print This Post

May is Hepatitis Awareness Month and May 19 was designated as National Hepatitis Testing Day in the United States. The CDC has identified protecting patients and workers from healthcare–associated viral hepatitis as one element in its comprehensive viral hepatitis action plan. In protecting healthcare workers from Hepatitis B, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends that healthcare workers “with reasonably anticipated risk for exposures to blood or infectious body fluids receive the complete Hepatitis B vaccine series and have their immunity documented through postvaccination testing.”

Of the workers in your healthcare facility with reasonably anticipated risk for exposures to blood or infectious body fluids, what percentage do you estimate meet the ACIP recommendations for Hepatitis B vaccination and postvaccination testing? Take the OSHA Healthcare Advisor Weekly Poll and let us know.

After taking the survey, click here for the results.

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Comments

While I marked the 80-89%, we are probably very close to if not over the 90%. However, we have a high % of employees that have been here over 15 years and until about 12 years ago, stats were not well kept. Of newer employees, many have had the vaccine when they start with us. Of the one big group- environmental services- we have a 98% rate for those who have started in the last 10 years. Others in younger professional groups have been helped because the schools can requrie it and it is now a childhood vaccine given to many. When I think back to starting as an IP 20 years ago, great strides have been made and this is one area where we are successful.

I marked 80-89% also, because if we hire an employee who has documentation of the series, but does not have documentation of an antibody titer, we are not required to titer them, unless they have an exposure. (Isn’t that correct)? All employees who are hired that have not had the series, are given the series and an antibody titer is then drawn to determine immunity, as per guidelines.

Cindy- thast is correct that you don’t have to titer them though most of us do. That is part of the problem with employees we have had for awile. We only started titreing about 6-7 years ago when they hired an EHS nurse that knew to write them into the program. So, what do I do if I titer someone that had the shots 15 yrs ago- is the negative truly a negative or are there “memory cells” still there that would protect them? With an exposure, if someone is negative, you have several days to boster them if you need to to assure they are protected. I could answer 95% if the question only related to having the 3 shots- it is the titer that we do not always have.

Cindy- that is correct. If they had asked the question only about the series, we have over 95% that have had the series but titers were not routinely done when we first started vaccinating. And, if you titer someone that had the shots years ago, is it truly negative or are memory cells present to protect if there is an exposure?

By Bruce Cunha on May 24th, 2012 at 4:43 pm

We titer all on hire. Offer HBV to all that are non-immune (even if they have been vaccinated previously). Because it is not a requirement, we still have some employees who have not received it.

We do a letter to all employees who have not received the HBV vaccination every two years to remind them of the importance and make sure they understand they can obtain the vaccination free at any time if they want.

I currently have an interpretation letter into OSHA to get a clarification on if we can make HBV a condition of employment. I was told by OSHA at the Infection Control for HealthCare Workers stakeholder meeting that we could require it. (so far it has been over 6 months and I have yet to get a formal answer from OSHA)

 

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