Hepatitis B Vaccine
The first results of active immunization against hepatitis B in humans were reported a little over 10 years ago (Maupas et al., 1976). Since then, several serum-derived hepatitis B (HB) vaccines have been proved safe, highly immunogenic and efficacious in various populations at risk (Stevens et al., 1984). However, the high cost of production has limited their use to high-risk volunteers in developed countries. Even there, it has been found difficult to expand immunization to all exposed individuals. In France, for instance, immunization of the estimated 1.5 million individuals at risk would cost around $100 million, i.e., 10-fold the cost of the entire rubella-prevention program. Endemic areas in which large-scale use of HB vaccines would be the most valuable are in Africa or Southeast Asia. Many countries in these areas simply cannot afford hepatitis B immunization unless prices of vaccines are significantly lowered. With currently available vaccines, immunization can be achieved by two means: (1) reducing the number of doses for primary immunization, and (2) lowering the concentration of HB s Ag in the vaccine.
KeywordsNewborn Infant Seroconversion Rate Primary Immunization Booster Injection Group Band
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