Abstract: Hepatitis B remains a significant health issue worldwide, and contributes significantly to the incidence of cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Widespread adoption of hepatitis B vaccination strategies has lead to significant declines in acute hepatitis B infections. Current recommendations for vaccination in the non-pregnant population include vaccinating all persons found to have risk-factors for disease acquisition. Hepatitis B virus is known to occur through vertical transmission or early childhood transmission, and strategies to decrease transmission include avoidance of exposure, avoidance of high-risk behaviors, universal screening of women during pregnancy, and active and passive immunization. It is currently recommended that all pregnant women undergo screening for hepatitis B virus at presentation for prenatal care. Those who engage in high-risk behavior should be re-screened at presentation for delivery. Studies have demonstrated the safety and efficacy of the hepatitis B vaccine in pregnancy, and its use is an important component in prevention of disease acquisition. Pregnant women in the United States who are found to be at risk for disease acquisition should be specifically targeted for vaccination.
Abstract: Rates of delay and refusal of recommended childhood vaccines are increasing in many U.S. communities. Children’s health care providers have a strong influence on parents’ knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about vaccines. Provider attitudes towards immunizations vary and affect their immunization advocacy. One factor that may contribute to this variability is their familiarity with vaccine-preventable diseases and their sequelae. The purpose of this study was to investigate the association of health care provider year of graduation with vaccines and vaccine-preventable disease beliefs. We conducted a cross sectional survey in 2005 of primary care providers identified by parents of children whose children were fully vaccinated or exempt from one or more school immunization requirements. We examined the association of provider graduation cohort (5 years) with beliefs on immunization, disease susceptibility, disease severity, vaccine safety, and vaccine efficacy. Surveys were completed by 551 providers (84.3% response rate). More recent health care provider graduates had 15% decreased odds of believing vaccines are efficacious compared to graduates from a previous 5 year period; had lower odds of believing that many commonly used childhood vaccines were safe; and 3.7% of recent graduates believed that immunizations do more harm than good. Recent health care provider graduates have a perception of the risk-benefit balance of immunization, which differs from that of their older counterparts. This change has the potential to be reflected in their immunization advocacy and affect parental attitudes.
Abstract: The Kaiser Permanente Vaccine Study Center is a specialized research organization in Oakland, California. They have been an active vaccine research group for many years, and have participated in and led a multitude of vaccine studies. This article will review the last three years of research activities.
Abstract: The failure of current Mycobacterium bovis bacille Calmette–Guérin (BCG) vaccines, given to neonates to protect against adult tuberculosis and the risk of using these live vaccines in HIV-infected infants, has emphasized the need for generating new, more efficacious and safer replacement vaccines. With the availability of genetic techniques for constructing recombinant BCG (rBCG) strains containing well-defined gene deletions or insertions, new vaccine candidates are under evaluation at both the preclinical and clinical stages of development. Since most BCG vaccines in use today were evaluated in clinical trials decades ago and are produced by outdated processes, the development of new BCG vaccines offers a number of advantages that include a modern well-defined manufacturing process along with state-of-the-art evaluation of safety and efficacy in target populations. We provide a description of the preclinical development of two novel rBCGs, VPM1002 that was constructed by adding a modified hly gene coding for the protein listeriolysin O (LLO) from Listeria monocytogenes and AERAS-422, which carries a modified pfoA gene coding for the protein perfringolysin O (PFO) from Clostridium perfringens, and three genes from Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Novel approaches like these should be helpful in generating stable and effective rBCG vaccine candidates that can be better characterized than traditional BCG vaccines.
Abstract: To examine changes in seroprevalence of antibodies to hepatitis A virus (HAV) during a period in which universal vaccine recommendations for all U.S. children were implemented, results from serologic testing from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 2003–2010 were analyzed among 7,989 participants age 6–19 years, born in the U.S. in two birth cohorts (1986–1996 and 1997–2004). Overall prevalence increased over time from 24.4% in 2003–2006 to the highest ever reported (37.6%) in 2007–2010. Specifically, increases reached statistical significance in the birth cohort born in the years after implementation of vaccine recommendations (1997–2004), among those of race/ethnicity other than white, non-Hispanic, and among states where recommendations were implemented later. The greatest increase over time was among the subgroup of persons in states with early implementation who were of race/ethnicity other than white, non-Hispanic. Geographic region and birth cohort based on vaccine recommendations as well as race/ethnicity were the main predictors of seropositivity in 2007–2010. The increase in Hepatitis A seroprevalence occurred during a time of decreasing incidence and increasing vaccination, however race/ethnic disparities persist.
Abstract: An HIV vaccine, once it becomes available, could reduce vulnerability to HIV among African-American women. The purpose of this study was to assess determinants of HIV vaccine acceptability among African-American women across hypothetical levels of vaccine efficacy. Participants were recruited from a hospital-based family planning clinic in Atlanta, GA serving low-income patients (N = 321). Data were collected from audio-computer assisted surveys administered in the clinic waiting room. Psychosocial survey items were guided by Risk Homeostasis Theory (RHT) and Social Cognitive Theory (SCT). Multivariate logistic regression was used to identify determinants of acceptability for two hypothetical HIV vaccines with 50% and 90% efficacy. Overall, 63% of participants would accept a vaccine with 50% efficacy and 85% would accept a vaccine with 90% efficacy. In multivariate analyses, odds of acceptability for a vaccine with 50% efficacy were higher among participants with greater perceived HIV vaccine benefits (AOR = 1.13, p < 0.001) and lower among participants with more than high school education (AOR = 0.47, p = 0.033) and greater perceived costs of HIV vaccination (AOR = 0.95, p = 0.010). Odds of acceptability for a vaccine with 90% efficacy were higher among participants with greater perceived costs of unprotected sex (AOR = 1.08, p = 0.026), HIV vaccine benefits (AOR = 1.23, p < 0.001) and self-efficacy for sex refusal (AOR = 1.11, p = 0.044). HIV vaccine acceptability was high, particularly for a vaccine with 90% efficacy. Findings suggest that demographic and psychosocial factors may impact acceptability of an eventual HIV vaccine. Once an HIV vaccine is available, interventions to maximize uptake may benefit from using RHT and SCT constructs to target relevant psychosocial factors, such as perceived benefits and perceived costs of vaccination.