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Vaccine Guidelines

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) provides comprehensive vaccine recommendations to protect all Americans against hepatitis B during their life span. The ACIP recommendations are endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the American Academy of Family Physicians.

web linkUniversal Infant Vaccination ("Birth Dose")

ALL infants should receive the first dose of hepatitis B vaccine in the hospital before they are taken home.

In 1991, ACIP recommended universal hepatitis B vaccination of all infants born in the U.S. This "birth dose" of vaccine helps reduce the risk of hepatitis B transmission from a woman who is unknowingly infected to her newborn baby at the time of delivery. It also protects a vulnerable newborn from possible infection from a family or household member who may be infected with hepatitis B.

web linkChildren and Adolescents (0 - 18 years)

ALL children up to age 18 years should receive the hepatitis B vaccine.

Since children are at greatest risk for developing chronic hepatitis B if exposed to the virus (one-third of all chronically infected adults were exposed in childhood), ACIP decided it was wise to ensure the protection of all children and expanded its recommendations in 1997. Adolescents are included because of their potentially experimental lifestyle choices that place them at greater risk of infection.

web linkAdult Recommendations (>18 years)

ACIP approved for the first time a schedule for the routine vaccination of adults (persons aged >18 years) in 2002. The hepatitis B vaccine is included in the new list of adult recommendations.

Although the childhood immunization program in the U.S. has reduced the burden of vaccine-preventable disease significantly among children, substantial vaccine-preventable morbidity and mortality from diseases such as hepatitis A and hepatitis B continue to occur among adults.

web linkRecommended Doses of Approved HBV Vaccines 

The CDC has published a simple chart of approved HBV vaccine doses for children and adults. Print it to use as a handy office reference.

Page last modified March 18, 2009

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