Background: The national hepatitis B virus (HBV) vaccination program was launched in Taiwan in 1984. After November 1992, a recombinant HBV vaccine replaced the plasma-derived HBV vaccine. Methods: A total of 1,812 nursing and medical technology freshman students was tested to evaluate their waning immunity toward hepatitis B. In the 2007 (2008) academic year, 438 (382) students testing nonprotective antibodies received 3 (1) booster doses of HBV vaccine according to suggestions from Taiwan’s Center for Disease Control (CDC). Results: The seroprevalences of hepatitis B surface antigen (+) were 0.8% and 0.7% in the plasma-derived and recombinant group, respectively; for antibody to hepatitis B surface antigen (anti-HBs) (+), they were 43.2% and 33.3% (P < .001), respectively. In the 2007 freshman group, 99.1% of the students previously vaccinated with plasma-derived HBV vaccine exhibited anti-HBs seroconversion. In the 2008 freshman group, the booster dose induced anti-HBs seroconversions of 92.1% and 95.9% in the students who had received the plasma-derived and recombinant HBV vaccine, respectively (P = .370). Conclusion: Most students exhibited signs of immune memory after receiving the booster, regardless of having received plasma-derived or recombinant HBV. Only a small number of vaccinees lost their immune memory after 16 years, suggesting that some students might benefit from boosting before proceeding to clinical practice.
American Journal of Infection Control 39(5),408-414