Hepatitis B shots recommended for youngsters

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Quick View. Posted Sept. 18, 2006

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All children from infancy to age 18 should receive the hepatitis B vaccine series, according to recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

Many states require hep B vaccination before school entry. Since the vaccination came on line in 1982, recommendations have evolved into a comprehensive strategy to eliminate HBV transmission in the United States. This strategy includes:

  • Universal vaccination of infants at birth.
  • Prevention of perinatal HBV infection through routine screening of pregnant women for hepatitis B surface antigen and immunoprophylaxis of infants born to HBsAg-positive women and to women with unknown HBsAg status.
  • Routine vaccination of previously unvaccinated children and adolescents.
  • Vaccination of previously unvaccinated adults at increased risk for infection.

Overall, hepatitis B infections declined 75% between 1990 and 2004. The most reductions occurred among young people, coincident with the increase in vaccine coverage. Incidence among children younger than 12 and adolescents age 12-19 declined 94%, from 1.1 to 0.36 cases and 6.1 to 2.8 cases per 100,000 population, respectively.

Infant vaccinations for hepatitis B, recommended in 1991, are at levels consistent with other vaccines in the childhood schedule.

Source: National Immunization Survey, CDC

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