Date of Award

4-9-2008

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Medical Doctor (MD)

First Advisor

Frederick Altice

Abstract

Despite evidence that viral hepatitis poses a significant risk to public health, universal vaccination has not yet been implemented. The risk for viral hepatitis infection is particularly high among injection drug users and other individuals who do not attend regular health care visits. Jails provide a structural opportunity to vaccinate these high risk individuals. HAV and HBV vaccines administered on an accelerated three week schedule could dramatically decrease the lifetime risk for contracting viral hepatitis among jail detainees. Assuming that 75% of detainees would accept vaccination, 33% have previous exposure to HAV, 25% have previous exposure to HBV, and independent future healthcare costs were US $317,000, the US health care system would save $12 per individual with a vaccinate upon entry program in comparison to no intervention. This savings translates into an economic benefit amounting to about US$ 5,000,000 saved if all new jail inmates in a given year were immunized. A vaccination upon entry program for HAV/HBV in jails should be widely implemented with coordination between the corrections system and public health agencies to reduce the growing cost of viral hepatitis infection.

Share

COinS