Last Updated on November 28, 2022 by Lily Connel
In the United States, the Hepatitis B vaccine for newborns is a common vaccination administered at birth. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all infants receive this vaccine within 24 hours of their birth. The reasoning behind this recommendation is to ensure that an infant can become protected from hepatitis B in its early days when it still lacks strong immune responses.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver that can cause acute or chronic illness. It is primarily passed by blood or bodily fluids, including during childbirth, through unsafe sexual practices, and other methods through which an open wound may come into contact with infected bodily fluids. This infection is slightly more common in men than women.
All You Need To Know About Hepatitis B Vaccination For New Born
Hepatitis B vaccination is given to newborns because, without vaccination, a baby has up to a 90% chance of becoming infected with hepatitis B during the first five years of their life if they are exposed to an infected person.
Newborns who are born to mothers that have been diagnosed with hepatitis B and who have received the Hepatitis B vaccine within the last 12 months before childbirth will also be given a dose of the vaccine at birth. This is because these newborns might receive some protection from their mother’s antibodies during this time period.
Even though the hepatitis B vaccine is available, there are still about 1.25 million people in the United States who have chronic liver infections. This virus can be deadly for infants, making them extremely susceptible to the dangerous complications of the disease. If you belong to any of these groups, your baby may be at risk of contracting the virus. You should consult your doctor about getting an early vaccine before giving birth.
Facts Of Hepatitis B Vaccine For Newborn
1. Hepatitis B is the leading cause of liver cancer, cirrhosis, and liver transplants. Today, there are 1-3 million chronic carriers in the world. Hepatitis B infection can be spread through contact with human blood or semen.
2. It has been estimated that hepatitis B infects 350 million people worldwide. About 10 percent of the world’s population is hepatitis B carriers.
3. But this will soon be a thing of the past with an effective vaccine that has been available for newborn babies in China since 1993 and Taiwan (ROC) since 1994.
4. Such a universal vaccination program against hepatitis is scheduled to begin in Japan in December 2000, where 70 percent of the population is expected to take vaccination within five years.
Pros Of Hepatitis B Vaccine
1. The hepatitis B vaccine for newborns reduces mother-to-child HBV transmission by more than 95 percent if given within 12 hours after birth and two additional doses at one month and six months later (World Health Organization).
2. It prevents vertical transmission of the hepatitis B virus from infected mothers to their babies.
3. This vaccine reduces the incidence and severity of acute and chronic hepatitis B in children and adults: it decreases the mortality rate by 25 percent and three times as many people become chronically infected with hepatitis B after infection than before the introduction of the vaccination programs at birth (CDC).
4. It prevents chronic carrier state among infants born to infected mothers who are already chronically infected with HBV at the time of delivery (WHO, CDC, American Academy of Pediatrics, Immunization Action Coalition).
5. Hepatitis B vaccine prevents the development of liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma.
6. It prevents HBV in children in daycare centers, hospitals, communities, and schools (CDC).
7. This vaccine for newborns is inexpensive compared with the cost of treating hepatitis B complications. The cost per life saved for routine vaccination against hepatitis B virus is about US$ 3—50 per capita in countries that have already introduced routine vaccination programs. Treatment of one case of liver cancer costs more than US$ 100,000 (Immunization Action Coalition).
8. It is safe and the only contraindication is an anaphylactic reaction to yeast (CDC, American Academy of Pediatrics).
9. It is recommended for all infants in Taiwan (ROC), China, the Philippines, and Japan. In Australia, Canada, and Europe, it is strongly recommended in certain geographic areas or populations with a high incidence of hepatitis B infection. The United States will expand its recommendation in 2000 to include all infants except those whose mothers lack evidence of HBV infection by hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg).
10. Hepatitis B vaccine newborn is one of the least expensive ways to reduce the infant mortality rate in developing countries because each dollar invested in immunization programs against hepatitis B virus produces a net saving of approximately US$ 40—60 in health care costs later (Immunization Action Coalition).
10 Cons Of Hepatitis B Vaccine Newborn
1. There have been no studies to establish the safety of hepatitis B vaccine newborns in pregnant women and their babies. The vaccine contains an aluminum adjuvant, which increases the risk of damage to kidneys and brain that can lead to Premature births or fetal abnormalities (Immunization Action Coalition).
2. The vaccine contains yeast protein, which is a common cause of allergy in children and adults (American Academy of Pediatrics), despite the fact that this possibility is rarely mentioned when hepatitis B vaccine newborn is recommended to pregnant women.
3. There is no evidence that giving a hepatitis B vaccine to newborns can protect babies from acquiring hepatitis B disease because infection with the hepatitis B virus is not prevented by vaccination (American Academy of Pediatrics).
4. The newborn who received the hepatitis B vaccine may be falsely protected against HBV infection; the possibility that the incubation period for hepatitis B will be lengthened should cause concern (CDC).
5. Maternal antibodies could interfere with the immunogenicity of the vaccine, but this interference is not predictable in all newborns (American Academy of Pediatrics).
6. It can cause Guillain-Barre syndrome weeks after vaccination (FDA), an autoimmune disorder characterized by temporary paralysis that occurs in approximately 1 out of 100,000 people who receive hepatitis B vaccine (Immunization Action Coalition).
7. It is not effective in preventing hepatitis B virus transmission by infants born to infected mothers (American Academy of Pediatrics).
8. Children diagnosed with chronic HBV infection after receiving the first dose of the hepatitis B vaccine newborns may have difficulty finding a physician able to accurately diagnose their condition (CDC).
9. It is recommended only in the United States, Canada, and Japan (American Academy of Pediatrics). The effectiveness of the hepatitis B vaccine for newborns to prevent hepatitis B infection varies from 55% to 95%, although these rates are much higher when vaccination occurs in infancy (NIAID).
The hepatitis B virus is a blood-borne pathogen that can cause long-lasting liver damage, possibly resulting in cancer and death. This virus is the leading cause of cirrhosis and liver cancer worldwide. Although there are vaccines to protect against this disease, you should know about the risks and considerations before vaccinating your baby against hepatitis b.