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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Pre-travel advice, attitudes and hepatitis A and B vaccination rates among travellers from seven countries†

Anita E Heywood, Hans Nothdurft, Dominique Tessier, Melissa Moodley, Lars Rombo, Cinzia Marano, Laurence De Moerlooze
Journal of Travel Medicine 2016, 24 (1)
27738112

BACKGROUND: Knowledge about the travel-associated risks of hepatitis A and B, and the extent of pre-travel health-advice being sought may vary between countries.

METHODS: An online survey was undertaken to assess the awareness, advice-seeking behaviour, rates of vaccination against hepatitis A and B and adherence rates in Australia, Finland, Germany, Norway, Sweden, the UK and Canada between August and October 2014. Individuals aged 18-65 years were screened for eligibility based on: travel to hepatitis A and B endemic countries within the past 3 years, awareness of hepatitis A, and/or combined hepatitis A&B vaccines; awareness of their self-reported vaccination status and if vaccinated, vaccination within the last 3 years. Awareness and receipt of the vaccines, sources of advice, reasons for non-vaccination, adherence to recommended doses and the value of immunization reminders were analysed.

RESULTS: Of 27 386 screened travellers, 19 817 (72%) were aware of monovalent hepatitis A or combined A&B vaccines. Of these 13 857 (70%) had sought advice from a healthcare provider (HCP) regarding combined hepatitis A&B or monovalent hepatitis A vaccination, and 9328 (67%) were vaccinated. Of 5225 individuals eligible for the main survey (recently vaccinated = 3576; unvaccinated = 1649), 27% (841/3111) and 37% (174/465) of vaccinated travellers had adhered to the 3-dose combined hepatitis A&B or 2-dose monovalent hepatitis A vaccination schedules, respectively. Of travellers partially vaccinated against combined hepatitis A&B or hepatitis A, 84% and 61%, respectively, believed that they had received the recommended number of doses.

CONCLUSIONS: HCPs remain the main source of pre-travel health advice. The majority of travellers who received monovalent hepatitis A or combined hepatitis A&B vaccines did not complete the recommended course. These findings highlight the need for further training of HCPs and the provision of reminder services to improve traveller awareness and adherence to vaccination schedules.

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