Dr Mei-Hwei Chang and colleagues from Taiwan followed the world's first successful implementation of a universal Hepatitis B virus vaccination program for infants 20 years ago.
The team performed this study to evaluate the long-term protection afforded by Hepatitis B virus vaccination, and to rationalize further prevention strategies.
|A positive maternal Hep B surface antigen status was found in 89% after vaccination |
The team evaluated Hepatitis B virus seromarkers in 18,779 subjects from neonates to adults below 30 years of age in 2004.
The seromarkers included Hep B surface antigen, antibodies to Hepatitis B surface antigen and core antigen.
The birth cohort effect was evaluated.
The researcher team compared the results of the same birth cohorts at different ages among this survey and the previous 1984, 1989, 1994, and 1999 surveys.
The team found that the seropositive rate for Hepatitis B surface antigen was 1% in those born after vaccination.
The seropositive rate for anti-Hepatitis B surface antigen was 51%.
The team noted that the seropositive rate for anti-Hepatitis B core antigen was 4%, in those born after the vaccination program in 2004.
A positive maternal Hepatitis B surface antigen status was found in 89% of the Hepatitis B surface antigen seropositive subjects born after the vaccination program.
The team evaluated the absence of an increase in Hepatitis B surface antigen seropositive subjects at different ages in the same birth cohorts after the vaccination.
The researchers observed that the program implied no increased risk of persistent Hepatitis B virus infection with aging in those subjects.
Dr Chang's team concluded, "Universal Hepatitis B virus vaccination provides long-term protection up to 20 years."
"A universal booster is not indicated for the primary Hepatitis B virus vaccinees before adulthood."
"Maternal transmission is the primary reason for vaccine failure and is the challenge that needs to be addressed in future vaccination programs."
"This may include an appropriate Hepatitis B immunoglobulin administration strategy for high-risk infants and involve efforts to minimize noncompliance."