What is the Hepatitis B vaccine?
A .5mL dose of the Hepatitis B Vaccine is
recommended for all babies sometime after birth (within 12 hours if mother has
hepatitis B infection) and before hospital discharge by the Center for Disease Control
A second dose is recommended between 1-3 months of age, and the third dose is recommended between 6-18 months of age.
What is Hepatitis B?
Hepatitis B is a contagious liver
disease that ranges in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a
serious, lifelong illness. It results from infection with the Hepatitis B virus.
Hepatitis B can be either “acute” or “chronic.”
Acute Hepatitis B virus infection is a short-term illness that occurs within the first 6 months after
someone is exposed to the Hepatitis B virus. Acute infection can — but does not
always — lead to chronic infection.
Chronic Hepatitis B virus infection is a long-term illness that occurs when the Hepatitis B virus remains
in a person’s body.
Hepatitis B is spread when blood, semen, or other
body fluid infected with the Hepatitis B virus enters the body of a person who
is not infected.
People can become infected with the virus during activities
- Birth (spread from an infected mother to her baby during birth)
- Sex with an infected partner
- Sharing needles, syringes, or other drug-injection equipment
- Sharing items such as razors or toothbrushes with an infected person
- Direct contact with the blood or open sores of an infected person
- Exposure to blood from needle sticks
or other sharp instruments
"In 1981, the FDA approved a more
sophisticated plasma-derived hepatitis B vaccine for human use. This
“inactivated” type of vaccine involved the collection of blood from hepatitis B
virus-infected (HBsAg-positive) donors. The pooled blood was subjected to
multiple steps to inactive the viral particles that included formaldehyde and
heat treatment (or “pasteurization”). Merck Pharmaceuticals manufactured thisplasma vaccine as "Heptavax", which was the first commercial
hepatitis B virus vaccine. The use of this vaccine was discontinued in 1990 and
it is no longer available in the U.S.
In 1986, research resulted in a second generation
of genetically engineered (or DNA recombinant) hepatitis B vaccines.
These new approved vaccines are synthetically prepared and do not contain
blood products - it is impossible to
get hepatitis B from the new recombinant vaccines that are currently
approved in the United States."
"Rates of acute Hepatitis B in the
United States have declined by approximately 82% since 1990. At that time,
routine Hepatitis B vaccination of children was implemented and has
dramatically decreased the rates of the disease in the United States,
particularly among children."
"Most newborns that become infected
with Hepatitis B virus do not have symptoms, but they have a 90% chance of
developing chronic Hepatitis B. This can eventually lead to serious health
problems, including liver damage, liver cancer, and even death."
- In instances in which the birth mother
has a Hepatitis B infection almost all cases of Hepatitis B can
be prevented if the baby receives the necessary shots at the recommended times.
The infant should receive a shot called Hepatitis B immune globulin (HBIG) and the
first dose of Hepatitis B vaccine within 12 hours of birth.
- The complete vaccine series induces protective
antibody levels in more than 95% of infants, children and young adults.
Protection lasts at least 20 years and is possibly lifelong.
- In many countries, where 8–15% of children used to
become chronically infected with the hepatitis B virus, vaccination has reduced
the rate of chronic infection to less than 1% among immunized children.
- If contracted as an infant there is
greater risk of the infection becoming chronic, 80–90%
of infants infected during the first year of life develop chronic infections
- Hepatitis B vaccine
is 95% effective in preventing infection and its chronic consequences
- If a birth mother
unknowingly has the Hepatitis B infection routine infant vaccination can help
prevent spread to the infant
- According to the American Academy of
Pediatrics (AAP) in 1996: The toxic threshold of aluminum in the
bloodstream may be lower than 100 mcg per liter. The Hepatitis B
vaccine currently contains 250 mcg of aluminum.
- Hepatitis B is not common
in childhood in the U.S. and is not highly contagious in the same way that
common childhood diseases like pertussis and chicken pox are contagious.
- In the United States, hepatitis B is
primarily an adult disease, and risk is highly dependent on lifestyle. Risk
factors include: multiple sex partners, drug abuse, an occupation involving
frequent exposure to blood, or having a hepatitis-B infected mother. The
disease is not spread by casual contact.
- According to federal government
statistics, serious adverse reactions to the vaccine-including 48 deaths-are
reported three times as frequently as cases of hepatitis B in children under
the age of 14
THE CHOICE IS YOURS
Links with other options to explore for further
What did you consider before accepting/declining the Hep B vaccine?
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It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical
advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to
determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation. Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House,
LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences
of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided. This blog contains
information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is
not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or
the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.