Original Research

Hepatitis B immunisation and immune status of nurses in a regional hospital in central South Africa

Emily M. Makola, Willem H. Kruger, Perpetual Chikobvu
South African Family Practice | Vol 66, No 1 : Part 3| a5871 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/safp.v66i1.5871 | © 2024 Emily M. Makola, Willem H. Kruger, Perpetual Chikobvu | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 November 2023 | Published: 26 June 2024

About the author(s)

Emily M. Makola, Department of Community Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Clinical Medicine, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Willem H. Kruger, Department of Community Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Clinical Medicine, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Perpetual Chikobvu, Department of Community Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Clinical Medicine, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa

Abstract

Background: The hepatitis B virus (HBV) is one of the most important biological occupational hazards for healthcare workers. A high percentage of HBV infections are attributable to percutaneous occupational exposure. This study aimed to describe the HBV immunisation and current immune status of all the nurses employed in a regional hospital in central South Africa.

Methods: A descriptive record review included all the nurses (N = 388) employed in a regional hospital in central South Africa from 01 January 2018 to 31 January 2020. A total of 289 health records were included in the study. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics. Logistic regression analysis was used to establish factors associated with full immunisation.

Results: Most nurses were females (87.9%), working in medical (27.0%) wards. Only 20.4% of nurses received one dose of vaccine, while 51.2% received the three prescribed doses. However, 91.2% of nurses did not receive the vaccine at the correct intervals. Most of the tested nurses (71.0%) were immune. Immunisation status was significantly associated with religion (p < 0.001) and schedule (p = 0.003). Nurses who were non-Christians were 35.9% less likely to be fully vaccinated compared to Christians.

Conclusion: Half of the nursing staff received three doses as prescribed. All nurses should receive the vaccine against HBV and their immune status monitored to minimise the risk of an infection. It is therefore recommended that proof of immunity should be a requirement.

Contribution: This study found a high percentage of nurses with HBV antibodies, which will ensure workplace safety.


Keywords

hepatitis B; vaccine; nurses; immune status; South Africa.

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 3: Good health and well-being

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