Giving It Our Best Shot? Human Papillomavirus and Hepatitis B Virus Immunization Among Refugees, Massachusetts, 2011–2013

Rachel Stein Berman, Laura Smock, Megan H. Bair-Merritt, Jennifer Cochran, Paul L. Geltman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The receipt rate of hepatitis B virus vaccine among adolescents in the United States is high, while the receipt rate of human papillomavirus vaccine is low. Rates have not been closely studied among refugees, whose home countries have high rates of disease caused by these viruses. Methods We examined human papillomavirus and hepatitis B virus immunization rates among 2,269 refugees aged 9 to 26 years who resettled in Massachusetts from 2011 through 2013. This was a secondary analysis of data from their medical screenings. We used binary logistic regression to assess characteristics associated with immunization and bivariate analyses to compare refugee immunization rates with those of the general US population. Results Forty-five percent of US adolescents aged 13 to 17 years received 1 dose of human papillomavirus vaccine, compared with 68% of similarly aged refugees. Males (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 0.62; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.52–0.74), refugees older than 13 years (aOR, 0.74; 95% CI, 0.60–0.93), and refugees not from Sub-Saharan Africa (aOR, 0.74; 95% CI, 0.59–0.92) were less likely to receive human papillomavirus vaccine, while arrivals in 2012 through 2013 were more likely (aOR, 1.6; 95% CI, 1.3–1.9) than those arriving in 2011. Refugees older than 13 years were less likely to receive 2 doses of hepatitis B virus vaccine (aOR, 0.49; 95% CI, 0.37–0.63) than older refugees. Conclusion Specialized post-arrival health assessment may improve refugees’ immunization rates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberE50
JournalPreventing Chronic Disease
StatePublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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