Hepatitis B Vaccination update

7:45 am Health Care, Medicine

• The regimen for the vaccine is three doses at one and six months apart.

• Longer than recommended intervals between doses do not reduce final antibody concentrations, although protection might not be attained until the recommended number of doses has been administered.(1-5)

• A positive immune response to the vaccine is defined as the development of hepatitis B surface antibody (anti-HBs) at a titer of >10 mIU/mL.

• An interruption in the vaccine schedule does not require restarting the entire series of vaccination or adding extra doses.(6,7)

• If the vaccination schedule is interrupted after the first dose, the second dose should be administered as soon as possible.(8)

• The second and third doses should be separated by an interval of at least two months.

• If only the third dose is delayed, it should be administered when convenient.

• Protective anti-HBs titers may be attained in some after only one or two doses of vaccine, completion of the full course (three doses) is recommended to maximize the anti-HBs titer and duration of protection.

• Anti-HBs titers decrease with time but the duration of protection is long (15 -22 years after the primary vaccination schedule).(9-13) Routine booster injections are not required.(14,15)

• Patients with serologic markers of past HBV infection (anti-HBc and anti-HBs positive) do not need HBV vaccination even if they have low titers of anti-HBs.

• Vaccines should be given intramuscularly since deposition of the vaccine into adipose tissue result in a lower seroconversion rate.(16)

• Deltoid is the preferred site in adults for vaccination.

• Longer needles should be used in overweight individuals.

• Hepatitis B vaccine is effective not only in preventing HBV infection but also in preventing the sequelae of chronic HBV infection.

• It is the first example that cancer can be prevented by vaccination.


1. Wiström J, Ahlm C, Lundberg S, et al. Booster vaccination with recombinant hepatitis B vaccine four years after priming with one single dose. Vaccine 1999;17:2162.

2. Zechowy R, Rubin LG. Effect of the time interval between the first and second doses of hepatitis B vaccine on the antibody titer achieved after the third dose. Child Hos Q 1997;9:67.

3. Middleman AB, Kozinetz CA, Robertson LM, et al. The effect of late doses on the achievement of seroprotection and antibody titer levels with hepatitis b immunization among adolescents. Pediatrics 2001;107:1065.

4. Halsey NA, Moulton LH, O’Donovan JC, et al. Hepatitis B vaccine administered to children and adolescents at yearly intervals. Pediatrics 1999;103:1243.

5. Heron LG, Chant KG, Jalaludin BB. A novel hepatitis B vaccination regimen for adolescents: two doses 12 months apart. Vaccine 2002;20:3472.

6. Saito K. Introductory remark of Dr. Rokuzo Kobayashi’s achievements. Keio J Med 2002;51 Suppl 2:2.

7. Hepatitis B vaccine: What you need to know. Available at: www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/vis/downloads/vis-hep-b.pdf (Accessed on October 20, 2009).

8. Hoofnagle JH. Toward universal vaccination against hepatitis B virus. N Engl J Med 1989;321:1333.

9. Liao SS, Li RC, Li H, et al. Long-term efficacy of plasma-derived hepatitis B vaccine: a 15-year follow-up study among Chinese children. Vaccine 1999;17:2661.

10. Lin HH, Wang LY, Hu CT, et al. Decline of hepatitis B carrier rate in vaccinated and unvaccinated subjects: sixteen years after newborn vaccination program in Taiwan. J Med Virol 2003;69:471.

11. Yuen MF, Lim WL, Chan AO, et al. 18-year follow-up study of a prospective randomized trial of hepatitis B vaccinations without booster doses in children. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2004;2:941.

12. McMahon BJ, Bruden DL, Petersen KM, et al. Antibody levels and protection after hepatitis B vaccination: results of a 15-year follow-up. Ann Intern Med 2005;142:333.

13. Zanetti AR, Mariano A, Romanò L, et al. Long-term immunogenicity of hepatitis B vaccination and policy for booster: an Italian multicentre study. Lancet 2005; 366:1379.

14. Lu CY, Chiang BL, Chi WK, et al. Waning immunity to plasma-derived hepatitis B vaccine and the need for boosters 15 years after neonatal vaccination. Hepatology 2004;40:1415.

15. Jan CF, Huang KC, Chien YC, et al. Determination of immune memory to hepatitis B vaccination through early booster response in college students. Hepatology 2010;51:1547.

16. Shaw FE Jr, Guess HA, Roets JM, et al. Effect of anatomic injection site, age and smoking on the immune response to hepatitis B vaccination. Vaccine 1989;7:425.

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