Prather Pediatric and Allergy Center - Ask Doctor Brent

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Title: Hepatitis B Vaccine

Category: Access To Children's Health Care


The American Academy of Pediatrics at the annual meeting in October announced through the Red Book Committee that hepatitis B vaccine will now be recommended to be given to all children in society. It will be given universally to all infants and to all teens. It will consist of a series of three vaccines given at birth to four months and for teens at three separate times two months apart. The vaccine will cost approximately $10 per shot. The vaccine is absolutely safe. It is actually one of the safest vaccines available with a very good track record and very little, or no, side effects other than soreness in the arm and possibly low grade fever for a few hours.

Hepatitis B is a dreaded disease and in many ways is like AIDS in that it can cause a lifetime of disability and can even kill you if it causes total liver failure. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta have been planning this recommendation for several months. Now the job will be finding a means for paying for all these new vaccines.

As a concerned citizen, I encourage you to work to greater access to medical care for all people so that all teens and infants will receive this vaccine. As parents of young infants and parents of teenagers, I alert you to be aware of this new recommendation and to get your child to your pediatrician, family doctor or health unit and get these vaccines started as soon as possible.