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French Polynesia is considered to be moderately endemic for chronic hepatitis B virus infection, with an estimated 3% of the population having hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg). From 1990 to 1992, a 3-dose hepatitis B vaccination series was introduced into the routine infant immunization schedule in French Polynesia, including a birth dose (BD). In 2014, a nationally representative 2-stage cluster survey was undertaken to evaluate the impact of the vaccination program on HBsAg prevalence among school children (∼6 years of age) in Cours Préparatoire (CP). Documented vaccination data were reviewed for all eligible children; children with consent were tested for HBsAg with a rapid point-of-care test. In total, 1,660 students were identified; 1,567 (94%) had vaccination data for review and 1,196 (72%) participated in the serosurvey. Three-dose vaccination coverage was 98%, while timely BD coverage, defined as a dose administered within 24 hours of life, was 89%. Receipt of the second and third doses was often delayed, with 75% and 55% receiving a second and third dose within 1 month of the recommended age, respectively. No children tested positive for HBsAg. French Polynesia's vaccination program has achieved high coverage and an HBsAg seroprevalence of 0% (0–0.5%) among CP school children, but timeliness of vaccination could be improved.
Financial support: Funding for this survey was provided by the WHO.
Authors' addresses: Minal K. Patel and Kathleen Wannemuehler, Global Immunization Division, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, E-mails: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. Evelyne Le Calvez and Jean-Marc Ségalin, Bureau des Programmes de Pathologies Infectieuses, Direction de la Santé, Papeete, French Polynesia, E-mails: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.