HealthDay News — Healthcare personnel should be vaccinated against hepatitis B virus (HBV) if they anticipate exposure to blood or body fluids and should receive serologic testing to assess for antibody against the virus, according to updated guidelines from the CDC.

In the first update to the guidelines since 2011, Sarah Schillie, MD, of the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues noted that although rates acute HBV infection have declined from 8.5 to 0.9 cases per 100,000 population between 1990 and 2011, healthcare personnel are still at risk of acquiring the disease from patients with chronic infection.

More than half of healthcare providers who participated in the 2011 National Health Interview Survey had received all three doses of the HBV vaccine (63.8%); however, this figure still falls short of the Healthy People 2020 target of 90% HBV vaccination coverage for this population.

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“This report emphasizes the importance of administering hepatitis B vaccination for all health care personnel, provides explicit guidance for evaluating hepatitis B protection among previously vaccinated health care personnel (particularly those who were vaccinated in infancy or adolescence), and clarifies recommendations for post-exposure management of health care personnel exposed to blood or body fluids,” the researchers reported in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices now recommends all healthcare providers whose work-, training-, and volunteer-related activities involve reasonably anticipated risk for exposure to blood or body fluids to be vaccinated with a complete, ≥3-dose HBV vaccine series.

Many health care personnel were vaccinated as infants or adolescents, and the committee notes that some institutions assess for antibody at hire or matriculation.

Incompletely vaccinated healthcare providers should receive additional dose(s) to complete the vaccine series, the ACIP recommends. Restarting the vaccine series is not necessary for those with an incomplete series. However,  minimum dosing intervals should be heeded, including a minimum dosing interval of 4 weeks between the first and second dose, eight weeks between the second and third dose, and 16 weeks between the first and third dose.

The ACIP also recommends healthcare providers vaccinated against HBV receive postvaccination serologic testing to detect antibody to hepatitis B surface antigen one to two months after the final dose of vaccine is administered.


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. MMWR Recomm Rep. 2013;62(RR-10):1-19.