Reuters Health Information (2005-02-28): Hepatitis B vaccination protective for at least 15 years
Hepatitis B vaccination protective for at least 15 years
Last Updated: 2005-02-28 17:00:04 -0400 (Reuters Health)
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - After receiving three doses
of hepatitis B vaccine, recipients are protected against infection for
at least 15 years, according to a report in the March 1st issue of the
Annals of Internal Medicine.
Previous reports have shown that hepatitis B vaccination provides
protection for 10 years. However, the duration of protection beyond
this period was unclear.
To investigate, Dr. Brian J. McMahon, from the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues analyzed data from
1578 Alaska Natives who were vaccinated at 6 months of age and older.
Between 1981 and 1982, the subjects received three doses of
plasma-derived hepatitis B vaccine.
Mean levels of antibody to hepatitis B surface antigen (anti-HBs)
were 822 mIU/mL after vaccination and fell to 27 mIU/mL 15 years later.
Predictors of higher anti-HBs levels at 15-year follow-up included
high initial levels, older age at vaccination, and male gender, the
researchers report. By contrast, vaccination between 6 months and 4
years was associated with low anti-HBs levels at follow-up.
Asymptomatic breakthrough infections were observed in 16 subjects
and were associated with a lack of vaccine response (p = 0.01), the
investigators point out. Among patients with viremia, several had
hepatitis B virus surface glycoprotein variants.
The team concludes, "Hepatitis B Vaccination strongly protected against infection for at least 15 years in all age groups."
In a related editorial, Dr. Ding-Shinn Chen, from the National
Taiwan University College of Medicine in Taipei, comments that the
findings argue against a need for booster vaccinations. "Unless
continued follow-up and surveillance show clinically significant rates
of infection in adolescents or adults who were vaccinated as children,
booster vaccinations will be wasteful."
Ann Intern Med 2005;142:333-341.