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Prison Hep B vaccinations treble

Hepatitis B inoculation amongst prisoners in England and Wales has trebled in the past six years, a Health Protection Agency (HPA) report has revealed.

According to the HPA’s annual prison health report, the number of vaccinations administered increased from 27,161 in 2003 to 80,762 in 2009. 

Subsequently, it would appear that the vaccination programme has been successful in reducing the transmission of hepatitis B infection in injecting drug users (IDUs).

In 2000, hepatitis B prevalence among the IDU population was 30%, but this number fell to 17% in 2009. 

In addition, prisoners aged between 16 and 24 are now more receptive to chlamydia testing than in the past. The report revealed that 82% of all prisons and young offenders institutes took part in the NHS-led chlamydia screening programme in 2008-09. 

Analysis of testing revealed that 9% of prisoners had the sexually transmitted infection, compared to the national average of 7%.

Dr Brian McCloskey, HPA regional director for London and the agency’s prison health lead said: “This report shows that controlling the level of infections in prisons has an additional beneficial impact on infection rates in the community. 

“The HPA will continue working closely alongside the prison service and Department of Health to ensure that the most effective and evidence-based programmes and initiatives are in place to protect both prisoners’ and the communities’ health in England and Wales.”

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