Physician attitudes and practices regarding universal infant vaccination against hepatitis B virus infection in Minnesota were assessed approximately 1 year after publication of the Immunization Practices Advisory Committee recommendations. Four-hundred eighteen Minnesota family physicians and pediatricians were sent self-administered questionnaires, with follow-up by telephone. Among physicians who provide care to infants, 67 (29%) of 234 family physicians and 29 (50%) of 58 pediatricians routinely offered hepatitis B vaccine to all infants (overall 33%) (P = 0.002). The recommendations of the Immunization Practices Advisory Committee, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians had the greatest positive influence on physicians' opinions regarding routine hepatitis B vaccination. The factors with the greatest negative influence on their opinions were the low prevalence of hepatitis B virus infection in Minnesota and the addition of three injections to the current childhood immunization schedule. Universal infant hepatitis B vaccination remains controversial among Minnesota family physicians and pediatricians. We believe, given the variability in hepatitis B virus incidence and prevalence in the United States and the relatively low risk of most infants, that a single national policy based solely on universal infant immunization may be difficult to implement.
- Hepatitis B vaccine
- physician attitudes and practices
- universal infant vaccination