Background The risk of transmission of blood-borne pathogens, including hepatitis B virus (HBV) to healthcare workers (HCWs) is well known. Under current European Union (EU) legislation, all employers have to perform a risk assessment to identify workers exposed to HBV and offer them vaccination. Immunisation should be done as early as possible after the start of their career to avoid HBV infection and the development of a carrier status.
Methods We performed a cross-sectional survey of representatives from the Occupational Medicine section of the European Union of Medical Specialists (UEMS), to find out how policies have been put into practice in the European countries.
Results Answers were received from 21 countries, representing 78% of the population in the EU-28. HBV vaccination was mandatory for medical and nursing staff in 10 countries, mandatory for other paramedical staff, medical and nursing students in nine countries, for paramedical students in eight countries. It was recommended in all other participating countries. Serotesting before vaccination was done in eight countries. The vaccination schedule most often used was 0, 1, 6 months (18 countries). Serotesting after vaccination was done in 18 countries, boosters were recommended in 14 countries. A non-responder policy, including testing for carrier state, was present in 18 countries.
Discussion More consultation between key actors from MS at EU level could help to optimise the way this matter is dealt with in different MS in order to contribute to further reducing HBV transmission to HCWs
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