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Prevention and Vaccination

Vaccine Guidelines for Healthcare Professionals

The CDC recommends that all health care professionals, first responders, and others who are at risk for blood exposure on the job be vaccinated against hepatitis B. Hepatitis B has been designated a disease for which immunization is strongly recommended.

Health care professionals are at the front-line in the battle against hepatitis B. They are at risk for acquiring infection from an accidental blood exposure - they also pose a potential risk to patients if they are unknowingly infected themselves. Vaccination of all health care professionals is crucial in stopping the further spread of hepatitis B.

Key Points

  • OSHA Federal Standard requires employers to offer hepatitis B vaccine free of charge to employees who are occupationally exposed to blood or other potentially infectious materials.
  • Vaccination should be completed during training in schools of medicine, dentistry, nursing, laboratory technology, and other allied health professions, before trainees have contact with blood.
  • Prevaccination serologic screening for previous infection is not indicated for persons being vaccinated because of occupational risk unless the hospital or health-care organization considers screening cost-effective.
  • Postexposure prophylaxis with hepatitis B immune globulin (HBIG) (passive immunization) and/or vaccine (active immunization) should be used when indicated (e.g., after percutaneous or mucous membrane exposure to blood known or suspected to be HBsAg-positive.
  • Persons who do not respond to the primary vaccine series should complete a second three-dose vaccine series or be evaluated to determine if they are HBsAg-positive.
  • Revaccinated persons should be retested at the completion of the second vaccine series. Persons who prove to be HBsAg-positive should be counseled accordingly
  • Booster doses are not considered necessary.
  • Periodic serologic testing to monitor antibody concentrations after completion of the three-dose series is not recommended.

Read our Summary of  the ACIP Recommendations for HBV Vaccination of Health Care Workers.

Source: "Immunization of Health-Care Workers: Recommendations of the the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)", MMWR, December 26, 1997, Vol. 46(RR-18):1-42. Read the web linkFull Report.

Page last modified October 21, 2009

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