Hepatitis B Vaccine Helps Protect Your Baby’s Future
Who says my baby needs hepatitis B vaccination? How may people get hepatitis B?
The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American
Approximately 80,000 new cases arise each year in the United
Academy of Family Physicians, and the U.S. Public Health
States, and more than one million people carry the virus in
Service Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices all
their blood. Even worse, approximately 5,000 Americans die
recommend that every baby born in the United States be
from hepatitis B-related liver failure or liver cancer every year.
vaccinated against hepatitis B. These are the same medical
groups that recommend your baby get vaccinated against
How many injections are needed to protect my
measles, tetanus, polio and other serious diseases.
What is hepatitis B?
Three. The ?rst dose is usually given at birth before your
baby leaves the hospital. The second dose is given one to
Hepatitis B is a serious liver disease caused by a virus. This
two months later, and the third, usually at six months of
virus enters the bloodstream and attacks the liver. When
age. There is ?exibility in the dosing schedule. If you have
infants and young children are infected, the virus often
questions, ask your baby’s doctor.
remains in the body for decades and causes ongoing liver
damage, including liver failure and liver cancer. Fortunately, a What about my older children?
vaccine can prevent this very serious disease. In fact, hepatitis
B vaccine is the ?rst anti-cancer vaccine.
Although infant vaccination a?ords the earliest protection,
three doses of hepatitis B vaccination are recommended for
How is hepatitis B virus spread?
all children and teens 0–18 years of age. Make sure your older
children are protected as they enter the higher-risk years.
Hepatitis B virus is spread by contact with the blood or other Ask your doctor to vaccinate your older children now if they
body ?uids of an infected person. An infected mother can
haven’t had this important vaccine already.
transmit this disease to her baby at the time of birth; children
can acquire hepatitis B on playgrounds or in contact sports;
Is this vaccine safe?
adults transmit hepatitis B virus through sexual activity;
health care workers are at risk for hepatitis B when they are
Hepatitis B vaccine has been shown to be very safe when
exposed to blood. The fact is, anyone can become infected
given to infants, children, and adults. More than 20 million
with the virus.
people have received hepatitis B vaccine in the United States
and more than 500 million people have received it worldwide.
Why does my baby need hepatitis B shots now?
The most common side e?ects from hepatitis B vaccination
are pain at the injection site and mild to moderate fever. No
Hepatitis B vaccine is an investment in your baby’s future.
deaths from hepatitis B vaccine have been reported. Many
This vaccine protects babies from a disease that they may
deaths have been prevented.
come in contact with at any time in life. Protection from the
vaccine has been demonstrated to last at least 15 years.
Why does my baby need so many vaccinations?
It’s true that little babies get lots of injections and that many
of them can cause temporary discomfort. But without these
vaccines your baby is not protected against measles, mumps,
diphtheria, rubella and other preventable diseases. Like
hepatitis B, many of these diseases can result in severe illness,
hospitalization, and even death.
Make sure all your children get all their vaccinations on time.
Children are our future—protect them!
For more information about hepatitis B, contact your doctor,
nurse or local health department, or call CDC’s National
Immunization Information Hotline at (800) 232-2522, or
visit IAC’s Web site at: www.immunize.org
This ?yer has been adapted from the Immunization Action Coalition (IAC), and its technical content was reviewed by the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Immunization Action Coalition
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