Lay Health Worker Intervention Improved Compliance with Hepatitis B Vaccination in Asian Americans: Randomized Controlled Trial
This study aimed to evaluate the effect of a lay health worker (LHW) telephone intervention on completing a series of hepatitis B virus (HBV) vaccinations among foreign-born Asian Americans in the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan area.
During the period of April 2013 and March 2014, we recruited Asian Americans who were 18 years of age and older in the community-based organizations. Of the 645 eligible participants, 600 (201 Chinese, 198 Korean, 201 Vietnamese) completed a pretest survey and received hepatitis B screening. Based on the screening results, we conducted a randomized controlled trial among those unprotected (HBsAg-/HBsAB-) by assigning them either to an intervention group (n = 124) or control group (n = 108). The intervention group received a list of resources by mails for where to get free vaccinations as well as reminder calls for vaccinations from trained LHWs, while the control group received only list of resources by mail. Seven months after mailing the HBV screening results, trained LHWs followed up with all participants by phone to ask how many of the recommended series of 3 vaccinations they had received: none, 1 or 2, or all 3 (complete). Their self-reported vaccinations were verified with the medical records. Multinomial logistic regressions were used to examine the effect of the LHW intervention. Process evaluation was conducted by asking study participants in the intervention group to evaluate the performance of the LHWs.
After seven months, those in the intervention group were more likely to have 1 or more vaccines than the control group, compared to the no vaccination group (OR = 3.04, 95% CI, 1.16, 8.00). Also, those in the intervention group were more likely to complete a series of vaccinations than the control group, compared to the no vaccination group (OR = 7.29, 95% CI 3.39, 15.67). The most important barrier preventing them from seeking hepatitis B vaccinations was lack of time to get the vaccination. The most important promoters to getting vaccinations, among those who had vaccinations (n = 89), were our intervention program (70.8%) and self-motivation (49.4%). The majority of participants in the intervention group received the phone calls from LHWs (93%) and almost all of them got the reminder to receive vaccines (98%).
The LHW intervention was successful at increasing HBV vaccinations rates among foreign-born Asian Americans. This study suggests that this culturally integrated intervention program may be useful for reducing liver cancer disparities from chronic HBV infection in high risk Asian Americans.