Hepatitis B Vaccination For Newborns

Hepatitis B is a virus which attacks the liver and causes inflammation. Hepatitis B can be spread through bodily fluids and infected blood. It can either be acute or chronic; when Hepatitis B has just been diagnosed it is called as acute. When adults are infected with this virus, they show no symptoms but their bodies can fight and kill the virus in most cases. These adults will always show Hepatitis B antibodies in their blood and won’t be infected again thus are classed as immune. Adults who cannot get rid of this virus even after six months are classified as chronic.

Hepatitis B vaccination is the most controversial and deferred vaccination in newborns. Thus, as parents it all comes down to you to do the research, learn the effects and what it does to your baby. It is your choice to either vaccinate your baby for Hepatitis B or not.


Is Your Baby At A risk Of Contracting Hepatitis B?

More than 50% of the Americans who have chronic Hepatitis B are of Asian and Pacific Islander origin. Hepatitis B cannot be transmitted through cough, cold or other common actions. Here is a checklist of the various ways in which Hepatitis B can be transmitted.

  • Is your baby having casual sex?
  • Is your baby sharing needles with a drug addict?
  • Is your baby a migrant from a Hepatitis B endemic country?
  • Is your baby of the Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent?
  • Is your baby an inmate of a correctional facility?
  • Are you a Hepatitis B mother?

Based on the collective data accumulated from the years 2009 to 2013, it has been found that injection drug use was the most common source of transmission.


As a matter of fact, the most likely ways fro newborns to contract Hepatitis B is through an infection from their mothers. So unless you are Hepatitis B, there really is not much for you to be worried about.

Should I Give My Newborn The Hepatitis B Vaccine?

As mentioned earlier, the chances of your newborn contracting Hepatitis B is extremely low and thus a vaccine at birth is not really required. Furthermore, your baby doesn’t have a very great immune system to withstand the power of the vaccine. Especially in premature babies, since the immune system is still underdeveloped, when doctors give the premature babies the same dosage of the vaccine as the normal babies, it is too difficult for the babies to withstand it. Thus the response will be very poor in premature babies.


How Effective Will The Vaccine Be?

According to the studies conducted over the years, the immunity increased initially after the vaccine was taken. The studies inferred that the antibodies were still present even after many years. But when you look more closely, it was found that these people lacked immunity. For a person to be classified as immune, a person must have protective anti-HBs levels greater than 10 IU/mL.

In 2014, a study titled ‘duration of protection after infant hepatitis B vaccination series’ concluded that only 24% of the adolescents had protective anti-HB levels in their adolescent years.


Your Newborn’s Immune System

Your baby’s immune system is still developing and will take the time to get adjusted to foreign substances. Your baby’s immune system develops mostly from the breastmilk you feed it. Your breastmilk is composed of antibodies that help shape up your infant’s immunity. Vaccines contain adjuvants. Adjuvants are ingredients which are designed to stimulate a response from your newborn’s immune system. There are debates and arguments going on about how adjuvants are unsafe for newborns.

In case you decide to give your baby the Hepatitis B vaccine shot, make sure to read well about the vaccine and make an informed decision. Talk to your doctor and read the vaccine insert before you take any huge step.