The Hepatitis B Vaccine: Health 101

Is the hepatitis B vaccine really necessary?

Hepatitis B is still a potentially serious disease. About 1.25 million people in the U.S. have chronic HBV infection, and the virus causes complications that cause up to 5,000 deaths every year.

"The reason hepatitis B is still so common is because not enough people are getting vaccinated against it," says Offit. "If you look at the rates of infection in children under age 15 -- those who were among the first to receive the vaccine -- there's been a dramatic decrease in the number of cases. This proves that the vaccine really works."

Sources: Michael T. Brady, MD, the Vice Chair of the AAP's Committee on Infectious Diseases Neal Halsey, MD, director of the Institute for Vaccine Safety at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health in Maryland and a member of the Parents magazine board of advisors. Paul Offit, MD, Chief of Infectious Diseases at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania and a member of the American Baby magazine advisory board member. CDC sections on Hepatitis B Vaccination.

Copyright © 2008 Parents.com. Updated 2010

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