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Excerpted from "Immunization and Infectious Disease News"
Wisconsin Whisper
July 2000

Tom Saari, MD, FAAP

Hepatitis B Birthdosing: The state survey of all 100 Wisconsin birthing hospitals about their hepatitis B birthdosing policies is complete. Following the thimerosal alert last year, over 59% of hospitals in the state had suspended policies to immunize high risk infants born to HBsAg (+) and HBsAg (?) mothers, contrary to specific recommendations to continue to immunize those children with thimerosal containing vaccine. 6 months after thimerosal free vaccine became available, 26% of Wisconsin hospitals still do not have a policy to give Hep B vaccine to infant born to HBsAg (?) mothers and an alarming 6% still have no policy to birthdose infants born to HBsAG (+) mothers. A law suit against a hospital/physician in Michigan is now making its way through the courts because they failed

to immunize an infant who contracted Hep B from a HBsAg (+) mother. The national and state standard of practice is clear in specifying that HBV birthdosing policies must be in place to provide timely protection of infants born to HBsAg (+) and (?) mothers. >80% of Wisconsin hospitals were offering birthdose HBV last July, now only 50% are providing it. Milwaukee area hospitals showed a 53% drop in HBV birthdosing, the largest in the state, compared to last year. The southeast part of Wisconsin also has >70% of the yearly total of HBV perinatal exposures in the state.

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