Home page
Birth dose index
Birth dose letter
Survey results
Excerpted from "Immunization and Infectious Disease News"
Wisconsin Whisper
March 2000

Tom Saari, MD, FAAP
  

Hepatitis B Vaccine in Infants and Adolescents: The State of Wisconsin is surveying Wisconsin birthing hospitals to assess the impact of the thimerosal moratorium on providing birthdose hepatitis B vaccine to newborns. So far, it appears that about 50% of the hospital with previous birthdosing policies have not resumed them. The use of Comvax has been cited as a major contributing factor. Of particular concern are a few hospitals that have stopped immunizing infants born to mothers with both known and unknown hepatitis B surface antigen positivity. At stake are the 200-250 infants born in Wisconsin each year to hepatitis B surface antigen (+) moms, many of whom are unaware of their risk and remain untested after delivery. Hepatitis B infection is a death sentence in 25% of the infants infected by their mothers.

The thimerosal problem recently created significant tension between pediatricians and day care administrators. Infants were being banned from day care because of non-compliance with the state rule requiring hepatitis B vaccine be given within a certain time after enrollment. Because many pediatricians were following temporary AAP guidelines deferring HBV until 6 months of age, the youngest infants were afoul of the rule. The state health department arranged a moratorium on enforcement of the rule for a period of time that would allow those babies to get caught up. With thimerosal–free vaccine now available (and it should be at no extra cost) infants can be immunized anytime in the first 6 months.

Merck has gained FDA approval of a new HBV regimen meant only for adolescents (11-15 years of age) that allows 2 doses of the higher potency 10 mcg Recombivaxto be given over 4 to 6 months. This option will cost somewhat more to administer and is no shorter that current regimens.

Home page
Birth dose index
Birth dose letter
Survey results

Immunization Action Coalition1573 Selby AvenueSt. Paul MN 55104
E-mail: admin@immunize.org Web: http://www.immunize.org/
Tel: (651) 647-9009Fax: (651) 647-9131