When should you give the Hepatitis B vaccine? Does the infant Hepatitis B series give lasting protection?
Just published in Pediatrics 2014, “Duration of Protection After Infant Hepatitis B Vaccination Series”, this study looked at 16-19 year olds in the US who had completed their 3 shot series by age 1. Just 24% of these teens had protective levels of >10 IU/ml. The study then gave them a booster dose vaccine (Engerix-B) and 92% showed a protective response to the booster. You can read the study here…
The author’s conclusion was, “More than 90% of study participants immunized against HB as infants exhibited a seroprotective response to a challenge dose of vaccine. Duration of protection from the primary infant HB vaccine series extended through the adolescent years in the setting of low HB endemicity.”
My conclusion is this: Giving a booster dose for Hepatitis B to teenagers would give just over 90% protection. Not giving a booster leaves an unknown large percentage (up to 76%) of these teens at risk. It is high time we abandon the misguided program of vaccinating all newborns in the USA for hepatitis B. That infant series should be reserved for those infants at high risk: those with moms who have hepatitis B or are of unknown status. We can return to giving the Hepatitis B vaccine series to teenagers before they become sexually active and then we will have close to 100% protected, when they really need the protection.
A prior study, “Hepatitis B vaccination of male neonates and autism diagnosis, NHIS 1997-2002”, which you can read here… showed increased autism in males who got the hepatitis B series as infants.
See my prior blogs on this topic:
Hepatitis B Vaccination of Newborns