BACKGROUND: An increasingly crowded immunization schedule threatens the completion and compliance of hepatitis B vaccinations (HepB), the primary method of hepatitis B prevention. Combination vaccines have been proposed to alleviate this problem.
METHODS: Data from the 2011 National Immunization Survey Public Use File were utilized (GSK study identifier: HO-11-770) to compare HepB completion and compliance rates between 3 groups of children: those who received HepB combination vaccine, those who received non-HepB combination vaccine, and those who received HepB single-antigen vaccine only. Completion was defined as the accumulation of 3 HepB doses by 18 months. Compliance was defined as the receipt of vaccine doses within the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices' recommended age ranges.
RESULTS: Of a sample of 4,040,116 children, 39.4% received a HepB combination vaccine, 43.0% received a non-HepB combination vaccine, and 17.5% received a HepB single-antigen vaccine. Overall, 91.2% of children completed all 3 recommended doses, but only 61.8% completed them at age-appropriate times. Those receiving single-antigen only (odds ratio [OR] = 0.25, 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.17-0.35) or non-HepB combination vaccines (OR = 0.50, 95% CI, 0.37-0.69) were substantially less likely to complete 3 doses of HepB than those who received the HepB combination vaccine.
CONCLUSIONS: Although completion rates were high, a large proportion of children did not receive HepB doses at age-appropriate times. Combination vaccine was associated with both higher completion and compliance outcomes compared to HepB single-antigen vaccine.