Hepatitis B vaccination rate of homeless children in Baltimore

K. Schwarz, B. Garrett, J. Lamoreux, Y. D. Bowser, C. Weinbaum, M. J. Alter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To investigate the hepatitis B vaccination rate in homeless children 2 to 18 years old living in Baltimore City. Methods: During a 21-month period, 250 children from homeless shelters were enrolled. Results: The percent of children who had received 3 or more doses of hepatitis B vaccine was inversely related to age; 90% in 2- to 5-year-olds and 29% in 13- to 18-year-olds (P < 0.0001). Seventy percent of 2- to 5-year-olds had at least some of their vaccine history recorded in the Baltimore Immunization Registry Program but the history was complete in only half. Forty-two percent of 13- to 18-year-olds had no hepatitis B vaccine doses recorded in any source; 49 per cent of 10- to 18-year-olds were either not immunized or had received only one hepatitis B vaccine dose. Conclusions: Hepatitis B vaccine coverage is high in homeless children up to 9 years of age, whereas the majority of homeless children 10 years of age and older are unprotected against hepatitis B virus infection. Tracking the vaccine records in homeless children is labor intensive. Better public health strategies to deliver hepatitis B vaccine to older homeless children are urgently needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)225-229
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2005


  • Hepatitis B
  • Homeless children
  • Vaccines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Gastroenterology


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