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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Emergency Department-based Hepatitis A Vaccination Program in Response to an Outbreak

  • Author(s): Kaigh, Caroline
  • Blome, Andrea
  • Schreyer, Kraftin E.
  • Healy, Megan
  • et al.
Creative Commons 'BY' version 4.0 license

Introduction: The Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) declared a public health emergency due to hepatitis A in August 2019.1 Our emergency department (ED) serves a population with many of the identified risk factors for hepatitis A transmission. This study examines the impact of an ED-based hepatitis A vaccination program, developed in partnership with the PDPH, on incidence of hepatitis A infection and hospital admission.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective review of all ED visits in the 12-week period centered around the implementation of the ED-based hepatitis A vaccination program. All adult patients presenting to the ED were offered vaccination, with vaccines supplied free of charge by the PDPH. We compared the incidence of diagnosis and of hospital admission for treatment of hepatitis A before and after implementation of the program.

Results: There were 10,033 total ED visits during the study period, with 5009 of them prior to the implementation of the vaccination program and 5024 after implementation. During the study period, 669 vaccines were administered. Before the vaccination program began, 73 patients were diagnosed with hepatitis A, of whom 67 were admitted. After implementation of the program, 38 patients were diagnosed with hepatitis A, of whom 31 were admitted.

Conclusion: A partnership between an ED and the local public health department resulted in the vaccination of 669 patients in six weeks in the midst of an outbreak of a vaccine-preventable illness, with a corresponding drop in ED visits and hospital admission for acute hepatitis A.

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