Benefits of Early Hepatitis B Immunization Programs for Newborns and Infants

WHO Collaborating Centre for Prevention and Control of Viral Hepatitis, Vaccine, and Infectious Disease Institute, University of Antwerp, Belgium.
The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal (Impact Factor: 2.72). 09/2008; 27(10):861-9. DOI: 10.1097/INF.0b013e318173966f
Source: PubMed


Despite the availability of safe and effective hepatitis B virus (HBV) vaccines for >20 years, strategies targeting risk groups failed to sufficiently control hepatitis B disease at the population level; this is mainly because of difficulties in risk identification and in program implementation. Hence, the global burden of disease of HBV still is substantial. The World Health Organization recommends universal vaccination against hepatitis B to ultimately eliminate HBV; this recommendation had been progressively implemented to reach 168 countries with a universal program by the end of 2006. However, hepatitis B immunization is currently becoming endangered of losing its place on the agendas of governments, agencies, and international organizations, mainly because of the increasing success of these immunization programs and the interest in newer vaccine-preventable diseases and the related programs.This publication aims to show that vaccination programs targeting newborns and infants are preferable to achieve this goal. The benefits of universal HBV vaccination for newborns and infants are: higher impact on chronic carrier rate and transmission; established potential of high vaccine coverage in this age group; opportunities to combine HBV vaccination with existing universal vaccination programs for newborns and infants; and impact on perinatal transmission, if vaccination is started shortly after birth. Moreover, the safety, immunogenicity, and long-term efficacy of newborn and infant HBV vaccination have been proven extensively. In summary, newborn and infant HBV vaccination programs should be considered the preferred strategy, capable of providing important and sustained impact on global HBV incidence, even if they have a delayed impact on sexual transmission of HBV.

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    • "A comprehensive approach to eliminating HBV transmission must address perinatally acquired infection and/or infection during early childhood. Universal immunization of newborn infants is the best cost-effective strategy to prevent HB infection and its consequences (5-7). A number of long-term follow-up studies from various epidemiological settings have confirmed that HBsAg carrier status or clinical hepatitis B rarely occurs among successfully vaccinated individuals (8-15). "
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    ABSTRACT: The epidemiological impact and the duration of protection provided by infant hepatitis B (HB) vaccination are unknown. This study was designed to determine the hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection seromarkers in young adults who have been vaccinated against HBV as the first group of Iranian neonates during 1993 and 1994. We recruited 510 young adults with a history of complete HB vaccination at birth. HBV seromarkers (HB surface antigen (HBs Ag), antibody against HBs Ag (Anti-HBs), and antibody against HB core antigen (Anti-HBc) were measured using ELISA method. Anti-HBs titers ≥ 10 IU/L were considered protective and titers more than 300 IU/L were indicative of a natural boosting. Positive results for Anti-HBc and HBs Ag were considered as breakthrough infection and possible vaccine failure, respectively. The history of acute symptomatic clinical hepatitis was also investigated. Anti-HBs seropositivity rate was detected in 224 of 510 [95% CI: 39-47] young adults. Breakthrough infection (positive sera for Anti-HBc without chronic infection) was observed in 18 [95% CI: 2.5-3.5] subjects. There were neither HBs Ag positive results nor symptomatic hepatitis cases. The study results indicated that the neonatal HBV immunization induced a long-term protection against HBV and was very efficacious in reducing chronic HBV infection rate in vaccinated young adults in Iran.
    Full-text · Article · May 2014 · Hepatitis Monthly
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    • "The vaccine has been shown to be safe and efficacious for newborns and children [6,7]. Countries which have implemented universal newborn HBV vaccination have reported substantial declines in HBV incidence that is associated with these increases in vaccination coverage [8,9]. Thus, most cases of HBV and its sequelae could be prevented by a universal newborn HBV vaccination program. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Most cases of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection and subsequent liver diseases can be prevented with universal newborn HBV vaccination. The attitudes of health care workers about HBV vaccination and their willingness to recommend vaccine have been shown to impact HBV vaccination coverage and the prevention of vertical transmission of HBV. The purpose of this study was to ascertain the factors associated with health care worker recommendations regarding newborn HBV vaccination. Methods A cross-sectional study of prevalence and awareness of hepatitis B and hepatitis B vaccine was conducted among randomly selected physicians and nurses employed in seven hospitals in Georgia in 2006 and 2007. Self-administered questionnaires included a module on recommendations for HBV, HCV and HIV. Results Of the 1328 participants included in this analysis, 36% reported recommending against hepatitis B vaccination for children, including 33% of paediatricians. Among the 70.6% who provided a reason for not recommending HBV vaccine, the most common concern was an adverse vaccine event. Unvaccinated physicians and nurses were more likely to recommend against HBV vaccine (40.4% vs 11.4%, PR 3.54; 95% CI: 2.38, 5.29). Additionally, health care worker age was inversely correlated with recommendations for HBV vaccine with older workers less likely to recommend it. Conclusion Vaccinating health care workers against HBV may provide a dual benefit by boosting occupational safety as well as strengthening universal coverage programs for newborns.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2012 · BMC Infectious Diseases
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    • "Safe and effective vaccines against hepatitis B (HB) infection have been available since 1982. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends universal vaccination against HB to ultimately eliminate HB; this recommendation had been progressively implemented, with 168 countries having with a universal immunization program by the end of 2006 [1]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Neonatal immunization with hepatitis B (HB) vaccine induces protective levels of antibody (anti-HBs > or =10 IU/L) in a majority of vaccines. However, the duration of protection after HB vaccination in infants is unknown. A smaller proportion of children vaccinated beginning at birth with three doses of HB vaccine were found to have protective titers 5-10 years after initial vaccination. Long-term efficacy of HB vaccine depends mainly on peak antibody levels after vaccination, and subjects were observed to have lower levels of antibodies if they received the first dose of vaccine immediately after birth. The aim of our study was to compare the immunogenicity of two different HB vaccine schedules in infants born to HB surface antigen-negative mothers. Anti-HBs titers in infants vaccinated with two different schedules were compared. Infants were vaccinated at 0, 2, and 9 months (group 1) or at 2, 4, and 9 months (group 2). In total, 267 blood samples were analyzed at a mean of 14.20 +/- 2.39 months after the third vaccine dose. Sera were tested for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), hepatitis B surface antibody (anti-HBs), and hepatitis B core antibody (anti-HBc) using commercial enzyme immunoassay kits. The geometric mean titers for anti-HBs were 95.00 and 379.51 IU/L and the rates of anti-HBs more than > or =100 IU/L were 57.7 and 94.9% in group 1 and 2 infants, respectively. Delaying the first dose of the HB vaccine until 2 months after birth produces a higher immune response and can provide longer term protection.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2010 · Infection
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