Are there missed opportunities for vaccinating against hepatitis B among people who inject drugs in the UK?

J. Njoroge*, V. D. Hope, C. O'Halloran, C. Edmundson, R. Glass, John Parry, Fortune Ncube

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sustaining the impact of hepatitis B virus (HBV) vaccination on incidence and prevalence of HBV infection requires increasing and maintaining the uptake of vaccine among those at risk. In recent years, the level of vaccine uptake among people who inject drugs (PWID) in the UK has levelled-off. Data (2015–2016) from the national unlinked-anonymous monitoring survey of PWID, an annual survey that collects data from PWID across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, were used to examine HBV vaccine uptake. Data from participants who had injected drugs during the previous year were used to investigate sources of hepatitis B vaccine doses as well as factors associated with vaccine uptake. Among the 3175 anti-HBc-negative participants, 3138 (99%) reported their vaccination status; 23% (714) reported no vaccine uptake. Among those not vaccinated, 447 (63%) reported being sexually active and 116 (16%) reported sharing needles and syringes. Majority of those not vaccinated reported accessing services in the previous year that could have provided hepatitis B vaccine doses. These missed opportunities for vaccinating of PWID indicate a need for additional targeted interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere244
JournalEpidemiology and Infection
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are grateful to all the people who inject drugs that took part in the survey and to the staff members involved in their recruitment. We also thank the staff who undertook the laboratory work.

Publisher Copyright:
© Public Health England 2019.


  • Blood-borne virus transmission
  • Hepatitis B
  • Injecting drug-users (IDUs)
  • Public health
  • Vaccines


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