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Hepatitis B vaccination programme for risk groups: drug user risk group.

Hepatitis B-vaccinatieprogramma voor de risicogroep drugsgebruikers


Hepatitis B vaccination programme for risk groups: drug user risk group. From 2012 onwards, the hepatitis B vaccination for drug users will no longer fall under the responsibility of the Municipal Health Services (GGD). From 2002-2011 this vaccination has been collectively administered under the vaccination programme initiated for people at high risk of contracting the virus. The result of this vaccination programme - and other developments in the area of drug use - is that hepatitis B now hardly occurs at all among hard drug users. Subsequently, the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) has decided to discontinue this vaccination programme and not offer hepatitis B vaccination as a risk group vaccination to new drug users from 2012 onwards. The vaccination of new drug users at risk of contracting the virus will fall under the responsibility of individual care as given by the addiction treatment centres and administered by them.

In order to support the addiction services in this new vaccination task, the Trimbos institute has systematically documented which factors may contribute to an effective organization and implementation of the vaccination programme. The Trimbos institute was commissioned by the RIVM to carry out this study. The RIVM is responsible for the national coordination of the vaccination programme for hepatitis B risk groups.

The result of the study is that there do not appear to be any generally applicable success factors. This is due to the fact that the eleven addiction centres in the Netherlands have all organized and implemented the vaccination programme for drug users in different ways. Some centres ran the vaccination programme themselves and others were assisted by their GGD who administered the vaccinations. Apart from differences between centres, there also appeared to be large differences within the addiction centres themselves. The level of success depends on the specific regional or local situation and the way in which a centre is managed internally. Some locations, especially centres that are geographically large where more than one GGD is involved, were found to be functioning as 'islands'.

In order to assist the addiction services by providing some advice, a few recommendations can be made. For example, with regard to the time schedule in which the series of vaccinations must be administered and how to monitor the process of giving follow-up vaccinations on time. For this study, the implementers of the vaccination programme were interviewed between April and July 2011 regarding their experiences with the programme in recent years.

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