Hepatitis B vaccination in correctional health care workers

Robyn R.M. Gershon, Clifford Mitchell, Martin F. Sherman, David Vlahov, Mary Kathleen Lears, Sarah Felknor, Rebecca A. Lubelczyk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Data on bloodborne pathogen risk among health care workers (HCWs) employed in the correctional setting are sparse, even though the prevalence of bloodborne infections, including hepatitis B virus (HBV), among inmates is high. To address this, we determined prevalence and correlates of hepatitis B virus vaccination status in correctional health care workers (CHCWs) employed in 3 state correctional health care facilities. Methods: A confidential, self-administered cross-sectional survey was performed. Results: Four hundred eleven (69.8%) of 588 eligible participants completed the survey. Of these, 264 (64.2%) reported receiving a primary hepatitis B (HB) vaccine series. Vaccination rates varied by state and by job category. Parenteral exposures were not uncommon; 8.6% (n = 24) of clinical CHCWs and 2.0% (n = 7) of nonclinical CHCWs reported one or more needlesticks in the 6-month period prior to the study. Among clinical staff, vaccination correlated with licensure (RN or MD) and race (white) and in nonclinical staff with history of close contact with HBV infected inmates and with needlestick injury. Conclusion: Although the HB vaccination rate among CHCWs was generally high, given their potential risk of exposure to HBV, universal vaccination should be encouraged and should include those nonclinicians with job duties that may involve potential exposure to blood/body fluids.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)510-518
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Infection Control
Issue number9
StatePublished - Nov 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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