Hepatitis B vaccination coverage in Germany: systematic review
Background Despite being considered as a low prevalence country for hepatitis B (HBV), some populations in Germany are at higher risk of infection. In the context of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) viral hepatitis elimination goals, a valid epidemiological data base is needed to plan and monitor the national response. Prevention strategies include general and targeted HBV vaccination programmes. Objective The aim of this work was to estimate the HBV vaccination coverage (VC) in the general population (GP) and different population groups in Germany from available evidence and to identify current evidence gaps for future research. Methods We conducted a systematic review on HBV VC in the general population and populations at high risk of HBV exposure or severe infection in Germany. We included eligible publications (01/01/2017 to 06/06/2020) from databases Embase, Pubmed and Livivo, from a previous scoping review (including data published 01/01/2005–17/03/2017), from the national surveillance system and screened the reference lists of all publications at full text level. Risk of bias was assessed using the Hoy et al. tool. Results We included 68 publications of 67 studies and assigned them to one or more suitable population groups. Twenty-one studies contained data among children/adolescents and three among adults from the GP (VC 65.8–90.5% and 22.9–52.1%, respectively), one among travelers (VC 89.0%), 13 among immunocompromised populations (VC 7.8–89.0%), 16 among populations with occupational risk and 16 with non-occupational risk of HBV exposure (VC 63.6–96.5% and 4.4–84.5%, respectively). Conclusion Comprehensive evidence at low risk of bias was identified for children/adolescents. However, 25 years after including HBV in the national immunisation schedule, VC in Germany is still below the 95%-goal defined by WHO. For people at occupational risk of HBV exposure, VC was mostly reported to be over the WHO goal of 80%, but quality of evidence was heterogenous and should be improved. For people at non-occupational risk of HBV exposure, evidence was sparse and of low quality. The low VC highlights the need for future research to plan vaccination programmes targeting these populations.
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