Refugees are frequently not immune to vaccine-preventable infections. Adherence to consensus guidelines on vaccination and infectious diseases screening among refugees resettling in the U.S. is unknown. We sought to determine rates of vaccine completion and infectious diseases screening in refugees following resettlement.
We conducted a retrospective cohort study of refugees resettling in a region in the U.S. using medical data from June 2013–April 2015. We determined the proportion of vaccine-eligible refugees vaccinated with measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), hepatitis A/B, tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis (Tdap), and human papillomavirus (HPV) following resettlement. We also determined the proportion of refugees who completed HIV and hepatitis C (HCV) screening.
One hundred and eleven subjects were included, primarily from Iraq (53%), Afghanistan (19%), and Eritrea (11%). Of the 84 subjects who were vaccine-eligible, 78 (93%) initiated and 42 (50%) completed vaccinations within one year of resettlement. Odds of completing vaccination were higher for men (OR: 2.38; 95%CI:1.02–5.71) and for subjects with English proficiency (OR: 3.70; 95%CI:1.04–17.49). Of the 78 subjects (70%) completing HIV screening, two (3%) were diagnosed with HIV. Nearly all subjects completed screening for HCV, and one had active infection.
While most refugees initiate vaccinations, only 50% completed vaccinations and 70% completed HIV screening within 1 year of resettlement. There is a need to emphasize vaccine completion and HIV screening in refugee patients following resettlement.