Immunisation Against Hepatitis B For Children
Vaccination is the best protection against hepatitis B infection and is recommended for all infants and young children, adolescents and those in high-risk groups. Vaccination can be with a vaccine against hepatitis B alone or with a combination vaccine.
Protection against hepatitis B is available free of charge under the National Immunisation Program Schedule.
In Victoria, vaccination against hepatitis B is free for all babies and children including:
- Babies at birth vaccinate with hepatitis B vaccine as soon as possible after birth.
- Babies at 2, 4 and 6 months immunisation in the form of a diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B, polio and Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccine .
- Premature babies at 12 months premature babies born under 32 weeks gestation or under 2,000g birth weight receive a single booster dose.
- Children up to and including 20 years of age.
Safety Of Hepatitis Vaccines
Hepatitis vaccines have been given to millions of people all across the world without any evidence of serious side effects. “They’re very safe, and they’re extremely effective,” says Poland.
If you are not sure whether you should have hepatitis vaccines, talk with your doctor about your specific concerns.
Demographic Characteristics Of The Participants
“Table ” depicts the distribution of the participants’ sociodemographic characteristics. In the total sample , the gender distribution was nearly equal, with 429 males. Because of the maximum availability on the online platform, most of the participants surveyed were between the ages of 20 and 29, with the mean age of 26.25±9.94 years. The majority of participants were Muslim , had a tertiary level of education , were students , and were single in terms of marital status. In addition, 35.9% of respondents lived in the divisional city, and 83.6% and 93.7% did not smoke or consume alcohol, respectively. Furthermore, 50.8% and 7.7% of the participants reported that they had the presence of comorbidity and their family members had HB.
- aSpearman’s rho correlation is significant at the 0.01 level .
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Who Should Take The Hepatitis B Vaccine
Following people should take the vaccine to protect themselves from the hepatitis B virus.
Many women could be unaware of their lack of current immunisations and susceptibility to illnesses that could affect them or their infant babies. Pregnant women should see their doctors to determine which vaccinations they might require and whether they should receive them while pregnant or after the baby is delivered.
Hepatitis B vaccination can be given to pregnant women who are at high risk for Hepatitis B infection but have negative viral tests. Both before and after birth, it is used to defend the mother and the infant against infection. To develop immunity, a three-dose series is necessary. The second and third doses come one and six months following the initial treatment.
All patients on chronic hemodialysis are advised to get vaccinated against hepatitis B. Vaccination is also advised for CKD patients who have not yet progressed to end-stage renal disease. HD patients are less likely than immunocompromised people to have preventive antibody levels following vaccination with recommended vaccine dosages.
When the hepatitis B vaccine became available, health professionals tried this strategy by immunising a small number of neonates, but sadly it was unsuccessful. Hepatitis B was still sickening far too many kids.
Side Effects of Hepatitis B vaccine
Vaccines For Hepatitis A And B
Our immune system battles foreign invaders every day, such as when we get a cold virus. When this happens, we develop immunity to that specific virus. This means that our body will fight off the virus if it is ever exposed to it again.
The same protection happens with vaccines. However, the benefit of a vaccination is that you don’t have to go through being sick to enable your body to fight off disease.
Gregory Poland, MD, director of the Mayo Clinic’s Vaccine Research Group, explains that hepatitis vaccinations contain a small amount of the inactive virus. When you get a dose of the vaccine, he says, your immune cells respond by developing immunity against the virus. This immunity lasts over a long period of time.
“So if I get these two doses of hepatitis A vaccine, and then I get exposed 30 years from now, my body will remember that immunity to the vaccine and rapidly start producing antibodies again,” says Poland.
Due to the way hepatitis vaccinations are developed, it is impossible to contract the virus from the vaccine itself, according to Poland.
The hepatitis A vaccine is usually given in two shots and the hepatitis B vaccine is administered as a series of three shots. The most common side effects are redness, pain, and tenderness where the shots are given.
To get long-term protection from these viruses, it’s important to receive all the shots as scheduled. However, if you received one shot and never went back for the others, it’s not too late to catch up.
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Concerns About Immunisation Side Effects
If the side effect following immunisation is unexpected, persistent or severe, or if you are worried about yourself or your child’s condition after a vaccination, see your doctor or immunisation nurse as soon as possible or go directly to a hospital.
It is important to seek medical advice if you are unwell, as this may be due to other illness, rather than because of the vaccination.
Immunisation side effects may be reported to SAEFVIC, the Victorian vaccine safety and reporting service. Discuss with your immunisation provider how to report adverse events in other states or territories.
Emergency Hepatitis B Vaccination
If you have been exposed to the hepatitis B virus and have not been vaccinated before, you should get immediate medical advice, as you may benefit from having the hepatitis B vaccine.
In some situations, you may also need to have an injection of antibodies, called specific hepatitis B immunoglobulin , along with the hepatitis B vaccine.
HBIG should ideally be given within 48 hours, but you can still have it up to a week after exposure.
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Hepatitis B Vaccine Schedule For Adults
Hepatitis B is a vaccine-preventable viral disease that involves inflammation of the liver.
The hepatitis B virus usually leads to a short-term infection known as acute hepatitis B. If their infection is left untreated, some people develop chronic hepatitis B. Chronic hepatitis B is a serious, permanent condition that can cause organ damage, cirrhosis , liver cancer, liver failure, and even death.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , all people should be vaccinated against hepatitis B starting at birth. Adults who are at risk of developing hepatitis B should also receive the vaccine, which is highly effective in preventing infection.
Read on to learn more about the hepatitis B vaccine for adults, including who should receive it, the details of the dosage schedule, side effects, and more.
Prasit photo / Getty Images
Are Hepatitis B Virus Infections Easily Avoided
Large quantities of hepatitis B virus are present in the blood of people with hepatitis B in fact, as many as one billion infectious viruses can be found in a milliliter of blood from an infected individual. Therefore, hepatitis B virus is transmitted in the blood of infected individuals during activities that could result in exposure to blood, such as intravenous drug use, tattooing, or sex with people who are infected. However, it is also possible to catch hepatitis B virus through more casual contact, such as sharing washcloths, toothbrushes or razors. In each of these cases, unseen amounts of blood can contain enough viral particles to cause infection. In addition, because many people who are infected don’t know that they are infected, it is very hard to avoid the chance of getting infected with hepatitis B virus.
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Immunisation Against Hepatitis B
The current Australian immunisation program provides free hepatitis B vaccine to protect all children against the hepatitis B virus.
A full course of hepatitis B injections must be given for a child to be protected. It is recommended that this course begins within 24 hours of birth with a vaccine against hepatitis B alone. Further doses are routinely given at 2 months , 4 months and 6 months of age, as a combination vaccine.
Vaccination is the best protection against hepatitis B infection. In Victoria a free hepatitis B vaccine is available for a number of groups at high risk, including but not limited to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, men who have sex with men, and people living with HIV.
The adult course involves 3 doses of the vaccine over 6 months and gives protection to about 95 per cent of people. Once you have had the 3 doses, you can have a blood test to see if you are protected.
Learn About The Recommended Vaccines Children Infant To Age 18
Staying on track with vaccinations for your child helps keep them healthy and safe!
Recommendations about when to have your child vaccinated change from time to time. Please see the 2020 recommended schedule from the American Academy of Family Physicians and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention below.
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How Hepatitis Is Spread
Hepatitis A: About 20,000 people in the U.S. contract hepatitis A each year. The hepatitis A virus is found in the stool of the infected person. It is spread through contaminated food or water or by certain types of sexual contact.
Children who get hepatitis A often don’t have symptoms, so they can have the virus and not know it. However, they can still spread it easily. Fortunately, children are now routinely vaccinated against hepatitis A.
Most people who get hepatitis A recover completely within two weeks to six months and don’t have any liver damage. In rare cases, hepatitis A can cause liver failure and even death in older adults or people with underlying liver disease.
Hepatitis B: Every year, about 40,000 people in the U.S. become infected with hepatitis B. Acute hepatitis lasts from a few weeks to several months. Many infected people are able to clear the virus and remain virus-free after the acute stage. However, for others, the virus remains in the body, and they develop chronic hepatitis B infection, which is a serious, lifelong condition. About 1.2 million people in the U.S. have chronic hepatitis B. Of these, 15% to 25% will develop more serious health problems, such as liver damage, cirrhosis, liver failure, and liver cancer, and some people die as a result of hepatitis B-related disease.
Facts About Hepatitis B
- Two billion people, or one in three, have been infected with hepatitis B worldwide. Of these, almost 300 million live with chronic hepatitis B. This means about 1 of every 26 people throughout the world are living with a chronic hepatitis B infection.
- Each year about 900,000 people die from hepatitis B worldwide, and about 2,000 of these deaths occur in the United States.
- Hepatitis B is transmitted through blood and is 100 times more infectious than HIV. An estimated one billion infectious viruses are in one-fifth of a teaspoon of blood of an infected person, so exposure to even a very small amount, such as on a shared toothbrush, can cause infection.
- Hepatitis B is sometimes referred to as the silent epidemic because most people who are infected do not experience any symptoms.
- Liver cancer accounted for about 5% of cancer deaths in the U.S. during 2020.
- Almost half of liver cancers are caused by chronic infection with hepatitis B.
- The World Health Organization recommends the inclusion of hepatitis B vaccine in immunization programs of all countries in 2019, more than 8 of 10 infants born throughout the world received three doses of hepatitis B vaccine.
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How Is The Hepatitis B Vaccine Made
People are protected against hepatitis B virus infection by making an immune response to a protein that sits on the surface of the virus. When hepatitis B virus grows in the liver, an excess amount of this surface protein is made. The hepatitis B vaccine is made by taking the part of the virus that makes surface protein and putting it into yeast cells. The yeast cells then produce many copies of the protein that are subsequently used to make the vaccine. When the surface protein is given to children in the vaccine, their immune systems make an immune response that provides protection against infection with the hepatitis B virus.
The first hepatitis B vaccine was made in the 1980s by taking blood from people infected with hepatitis B virus and separating or purifying the surface protein from the infectious virus. Because blood was used, there was a risk of contaminating the vaccine with other viruses that might be found in blood, such as HIV. Although contamination with HIV was a theoretical risk of the early, blood-derived hepatitis B vaccine, no one ever got HIV from the hepatitis B vaccine. That is because the blood used to make vaccine was submitted to a series of chemical treatments that inactivated any possible contaminating viruses. Today, there is no risk of contaminating the vaccine with other viruses because the surface protein is manufactured in the laboratory.
Hepatitis A And B: Diseases Of The Liver
Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver, most often caused by a viral infection. There are three common types of hepatitis caused by viruses: hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C. Vaccines have been developed that protect people from contracting hepatitis A and B. There is no vaccine for hepatitis C.
Over the last 20 years, there has been a 90% decrease in cases of hepatitis A and an 80% decrease in hepatitis B cases in the U.S. Health experts believe that immunization efforts have led to this drop in rates of infection.
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How And When Do Doctors Give Vaccines
For the hepatitis A vaccine:
You should get two doses, given as shots, 6 months apart for complete protection. The virus in the vaccine is killed .
Children should get the first dose between 12 and 23 months of age. Children older than age 2 can get the first dose at their next doctorâs visit.
If you need the vaccine because of upcoming travel, get it at least 1 month before you go.
For the hepatitis B vaccine:
For long-lasting immunity, you need three to four doses, depending on which type of vaccine is used. You get them as shots.
Children should get their first dose at birth and complete the series by age 6 months. Usually, the baby would get a second dose at 1 month old and the third dose at 6 months.
Babies born to women who have hepatitis B need a shot of hep B antibodies, as well as their first hep B vaccine shot, when theyâre born. They will also need follow-up blood tests to make sure theyâre OK.
Catch-up vaccinations are recommended for children and teens who were never vaccinated or who did not get all three shots.
If you’re an adult who wants to be vaccinated, you should talk about it with your doctor or pharmacist. If you are considering both vaccines, ask your doctor about vaccines that combine hep A and B.
Vaccines For Hepatitis A & B
You may have a family member who has viral hepatitis. Or perhaps you recently saw a news brief about a celebrity who contracted hepatitis A or B. Whatever the reason, you want information about a viral illness that you may not have thought much about. What is viral hepatitis? Are you at risk for it? Do you need viral hepatitis vaccines?
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When To Delay Or Avoid Hepb Immunization
Doctors delay giving the vaccine to babies who weigh less than 4 pounds, 7 ounces at birth whose mothers do not have the virus in their blood. The baby will get the first dose at 1 month of age or when the baby is discharged from the hospital.
The vaccine is not recommended if your child:
- is currently sick, although simple colds or other minor illnesses should not prevent immunization
- had a serious allergic reaction after an earlier dose of the vaccine or is allergic to baker’s yeast
Who Should Receive Hepatitis B Vaccination
- All newborns before hospital discharge. Infants born to hepatitis B-positive women need hepatitis B vaccine and HBIG within 12 hours of birth.
- All children and adolescents not previously vaccinated.
- Children born in the U.S. to individuals born in a country with high hepatitis B endemicity.
- All individuals at risk of hepatitis B infection:
- Sex partners of hepatitis B-positive persons.
- Sexually active persons who are not in a long-term, mutually monogamous relationship .
- Persons seeking evaluation or treatment for a sexually-transmitted disease.
- Men who have sex with men.
- Persons who inject drugs.
- Household contacts of hepatitis B-positive persons.
- Persons born in countries where hepatitis B infection is endemic should be tested and vaccinated if susceptible.
- International travelers to regions with high or intermediate rates of endemic hepatitis B infection.
- Health care and public safety workers that may be exposed to blood or blood-contaminated body fluids.
- Residents and staff of facilities for developmentally disabled persons, corrections facilities, and other facilities that serve adults at risk for hepatitis B infection.
- Persons with end-stage renal disease, including pre-dialysis, hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis, and home dialysis patients.
- Persons with chronic liver disease.
- Persons to age 60 years with diabetes.
- Persons with HIV infection.
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