5 Things You Need To Know About Hepatitis B
1. Hepatitis B is more common than you think
Hepatitis B is a viral infection and the leading cause of liver cancer worldwide². If left untreated, hepatitis B could be fatal. In fact, one in four individuals with hepatitis B could die from either liver failure or cancer. Although there is no cure for hepatitis B, vaccination can prevent infection.
2. Hepatitis B is more infectious than HIV
Hepatitis B is transmitted through blood or bodily fluids and is more infectious than HIV³. Once someone is infected, symptoms can remain dormant — or symptoms may not appear at all — for up to 30 years. Because the virus remains dormant for so long and because many individuals infected with hepatitis B may be asymptomatic and unaware of their infection, they may inadvertently spread the virus to others⁴.
3. Vaccination is the key to protection
In 1991, infants began getting vaccinated against hep B. This led to a dramatic reduction of hepatitis B infection rates. That said, many adults born before the hepatitis B vaccine mandate are still unprotected and are at risk for infection. According to the CDC, 75% of U.S. adults are not currently protected¹. Due to low adult vaccination rates, infection is currently on the rise. Today, there are approximately 2.4 million people in the U.S. with chronic hepatitis B⁵.
4. Three-dose vaccines series may prove difficult to complete
Hepatitis B shots used to be limited to three doses given over six months. To receive full protection against the virus, all three doses are generally required. Because of the lengthy time period between doses, completing the series could be difficult⁶. A recent study from Kaiser Permanente, one of the nation’s leading healthcare providers, found that only 26% of adults completed all three doses of the traditional hepatitis B vaccine⁷, which may leave some people unprotected.
5. There is a vaccine that takes less time to complete
A two-dose (or two-shot) hepatitis B vaccine option called HEPLISAV-B® [Hepatitis B Vaccine (Recombinant), Adjuvanted] is available and the series can be completed in one month. HEPLISAV-B is approved for use in the U.S. for adults 18 and over. For more information and to find a nearby pharmacist who can help protect you against hepatitis B, click here.
If you were born before 1991, you were born before hepatitis B vaccinations became standard for infants in the U.S. The CDC now recommends that all adults age 19–59* receive the vaccine to help protect against the current rise in hepatitis B cases.
INDICATION AND USE
HEPLISAV-B is indicated for prevention of infection caused by all known subtypes of hepatitis B virus in adults age 18 years and older.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
Do not administerHEPLISAV-B®️ to individuals with a history of severe allergic reaction (e.g., anaphylaxis) after a previous dose of any hepatitis B vaccine or to any component ofHEPLISAV-B®️, including yeast.
Appropriate medical treatment and supervision must be available to manage possible anaphylactic reactions following administration of HEPLISAV-B®️.
Immunocompromised persons, including individuals receiving immunosuppressant therapy, may have a diminished immune response to HEPLISAV-B®️.
Hepatitis B has a long incubation period. HEPLISAV-B®️ may not prevent hepatitis B infection in individuals who have an unrecognized hepatitis B infection at the time of vaccine administration.
The most common patient-reported adverse reactions reported within seven days of vaccination were injection site pain (23%–39%), fatigue (11%–17%), and headache (8%–17%).
3. Walayat S, Ahmed Z, Martin D, Puli S, Cashman M, Dhillon S. Recent advances in vaccination of non-responders to standard dose hepatitis B virus vaccine. World J Hepatol. 2015;7(24):2503-2509.
4.Mast EE, Weinbaum CM, Fiore AE, et al. A comprehensive immunization strategy to eliminate transmission of hepatitis B virus infection in the United States: recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) part II: immunization of adults. MMWR Recomm Rep. 2006;55(RR-16):1-33.
6. Williams WW, Lu P-J, O’Halloran, et al. Surveillance of vaccination coverage among adult populations – United States, 2015. MMWR Surveill Summ. 2017;66(11):1-28.