Hepatitis B vaccine
Hepatitis B vaccine, as the name suggests, prevents hepatitis B. It is recommended to be
administered the first dose of Hepatitis B vaccine within 24 hours of birth, followed by two or
three more doses after that. Newborns with kids born off HIV-positive mothers or pre-mature
or poor immune function should get this vaccination at birth. Health-care workers are
vaccinated who work in high-risk areas are also recommended this vaccine. As the systems
have evolved around the world, the general course of immunization of child now covers
95% of all newborns.
Hepatitis B vaccine is available under the brand name Recombivax HB, Engerix-B, Elovac B
amongst others worldwide.
The USA recommends this vaccine for nearly all babies at birth. Worldwide, countries
routinely vaccinate infants against hepatitis B. US FDA approved the first hepatitis B vaccine
in the United States in 1981. Later in, 1986, A recombinant version was introduced. Later in
2017, the FDA approved a vaccine for Heplisav-B as a two-dose vaccine for use in adults
more than 18 years. Given its worldwide use, safety and efficacy, it features on the World
Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines.
Dosage and administration
Hepatitis B Vaccine is sold as injections. The normal schedule involves two or three doses.
In the Three-Dose Hepatitis B Vaccine Schedule, the first shot is given at any time after
birth, in the delivery room. The 2nd Shot is given at least one month after the 1st shot and
the 3rd Shot is given at least 4 months after the 1st shot and at least 2 months after the 2nd
shot. Infants need to be 24 weeks or 6 months to receive the third and final dose. There is
also a Two-Dose Hepatitis B Vaccine Schedule for Adults. In those at high risk, blood testing
is done to establish that the vaccination has worked. Additional doses are given to those with
poor immune function but are not necessary for most people. The dose for those exposed to
the virus but not immunized, are additionally given hepatitis B immune globulin with the
The cost of the Hepatitis B Vaccine
In the USA, the consumers have to pay a retail price between USD60 and USD120.
However, the cost of this vaccine is significantly lower in the developing world. The cost of
the same vaccine is USD 7 in India.
How does it work?
Hepatitis B vaccine comprises one of the viral envelope proteins, Hepatitis B surface
antigen, or HBsAg. the gene for HBsAg has been inserted into yeast cells to create this
vaccine. Once injected, an immune system antibody known as anti-HBs is generated by the
body in response to HBsAg in the bloodstream. Future immunity is provided to Hepatitis B
Virus as the immune system memory stores anti-HBs.
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