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Posts Tagged ‘Hepatitis B’

Stories of Polio, Meningitis, HPV, Hepatitis and Pertussis Top 2016 List

December 28, 2016 Leave a comment

Every Child By Two’s online platforms have reached over 11 million people with evidence based vaccine messaging in 2016.  As we look back at the record number of views and shares there have been on Shot of Prevention blog posts this past year, we’re especially grateful to our blog readers, contributors and subscribers.  

Whether you have shared a post, shared your story, or shared your expertise, know that our growth and success would not have been possible without your support.  Thanks to you, people are referencing our content before making important immunization decisions for themselves and their families.  In these final days of 2016, we hope that you will revisit these top five posts from the past year and share them with others in your social networks.  Together, we can continue to engage more people in these important immunization discussions.

 

1. My Polio Story is an Inconvenient Truth to Those Who Refuse Vaccines


Judy Post Polio with SisterIn 1949, Judith contracted polio along with 42,000 other people in the U.S. Judith survived five months in the hospital and multiple surgeries, but sadly 2,720 people died from polio that year.  As Judith bravely shares her story, she explains that it represents an inconvenient truth to people who are in denial about the risks of polio. She is continually shocked by people who refuse vaccines, who refuse to believe she ever suffered with polio, or who actually believe the polio vaccine is part of a government or “big pharma” conspiracy.  By sharing Judith’s story we hope to encourage continued polio vaccination and support of polio eradication worldwide and applaud people like Judith who are courageous enough to speak out in support of vaccines.  To read Judith’s story, click here.

 

2. How My Vaccinated Daughter Died From Meningitis and What I’m Doing About It  


EmilyStillmanEmily Stillman was pronounced brain-dead just 30 hours from the onset of a severe headache.  What they though was a migraine turned out to be meningococcal disease. In this post Emily’s mother Alicia explains that although Emily received a meningococcal vaccine, the MCV4 vaccine she received only protected her against meningococcal serogroups A, C, W and Y.  It did not protect her against serogroup B, which is what caused Emily’s death.  Since Emily’s death, a MenB vaccine has been approved for use.  However, most parents still don’t know it exists and therefore, most students are still not protected.

As the Director of The Emily Stillman Foundation, Alicia Stillman helps educate people about the importance of “complete and total” protection against all serogroups of meningococcal disease.  This means ensuring that teens and young adults receive both meningococcal vaccines; the MCV4 vaccine that protects against serogroups A,C, W and Y, as well as a MenB vaccine series.  To learn more about fully protecting our youth against meningococcal disease, read Alicia’s guest blog here.

 

3. Questioning Whether to Get Your Child the HPV Vaccine? Read This


hpv-fact-vs-fiction-series-1Although the HPV vaccine is one of the most effective ways we have to prevent numerous types of cancer, it is still being grossly underutilized.  As a result of persistent but inaccurate myths circulating on the internet, some parents are more fearful of the HPV vaccine than the human papillomavirus itself.  This is causing them to refuse or delay HPV vaccination for their children.

In this popular blog post, we highlight ten critical facts that address the most common misconceptions about HPV infection and the vaccine that can help prevent this very common infection. To learn more, be sure to read the post here.

 

4. Understanding Why Your Baby Needs a Hepatitis B Vaccine at Birth  


 

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There are many misconceptions about hepatitis B and how the infection is transmitted.  Because of this, many parents don’t consider their children to be at risk of infection and so they question the need for a hepatitis B vaccine at birth.  In this post, the Prevent Cancer Foundation explains the connection between hepatitis B and liver cancer and discusses ways in which infants and children can unknowingly contract hepatitis B.  Their Think About the Linkeducation campaign suggests that vaccinating infants before they leave the hospital is a critical first step in protecting your newborn from a virus that can lead to cancer later in life.  To learn more about Hepatitis B and the vaccine to prevent it, click here.

 

5. Barbara Loe Fisher is Right.  She’s Also to Blame. 


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Back in the 1980’s, Barbara Loe Fisher claimed that the whole cell pertussis vaccine (DTP)  was dangerous and causing too many adverse events.  Her complaints prompted the development of the more purified (acellular) pertussis vaccines that we use today; DTaP for infants, and Tdap for adolescents and adults. While studies have shown that these newer vaccines are not as effective as the old whole cell pertussis vaccine, they are the best protections we have against the dangers of pertussis.

Unfortunately, those who need protection the most are those who are too young to be vaccinated.  Infants are at high risk of severe complications from pertussis, to include hospitalization and death, but babies don’t begin receiving pertussis vaccine until two months of age.  After newborn Calle Van Tornhout contracted pertussis from a hospital nurse at birth, she died at just 37 days of age.  Callie’s death has had her home state of Indiana considering a bill that would mandate pertussis vaccination among health care workers.  But Barbara Loe Fisher is opposed to that as well.  To read more about the history of pertussis vaccines, click here.

 

If you have suggestions for topics you would like us to address in 2016, or you would like to contribute a guest post for publication, please email shotofprevention@gmail.com.  

Don’t miss any of our new posts.   Subscribe to Shot of Prevention by clicking the link at the top right of this page.  You can also “Like” our Vaccinate Your Family Facebook page to receive updates on important immunization news and join in our online discussions.   

Thanks again for your continued support and best wishes for a happy and healthy new year!

October Updates from Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices

October 26, 2016 3 comments

10693.jpgLast week, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) held it’s third and final meeting of 2016.  The agenda included presentations pertaining to hepatitis B, pertussis, HPV, meningococcal, herpes zoster, pneumococcal and RSV vaccines, and surveillance updates on Zika and influenza viruses.

During the two-day meeting, the committee took nine votes on newly proposed vaccine recommendations that addressed vaccination timing, number of doses needed, and dosing intervals for hepatitis B, pertussis, HPV and meningococcal vaccines.  They also approved the child, adolescent and adult immunization schedules.

This post provides a recap of each agenda item in the order they occurred. 

Hepatitis B Vaccine

The recommended first dose of the three-series hepatitis B vaccine is often referred to as “birth dose” and is typically administered to infants in the hospital after birth.  At this meeting, the Hepatitis B Work Group asked that the Committee consider removal of the permissive language that appears at the end of the recommendation which allows for a delay of the birth dose until after hospital discharge.

When hepatitis B vaccine is administered within 24 hours of birth it can help prevent transmission of the hepatitis B virus from an infected mother to her child.  The intent of the birth dose is to provide an additional safety net to prevent transmission from HepB positive mothers that are not properly identified due to errors in maternal testing or reporting. In these instances, when the mother is not properly identified as HepB positive before birth, the HepB vaccine alone is 75% effective in preventing prenatal transmission, and 94% effective when used in conjunction with Hepatitis B immune globulin.

Since delaying hepatitis B vaccination can interfere with the prevention of Hepatitis B – especially in a child unknowingly born to a HepB positive mother – the HepB Work Group proposed that the reference to delaying vaccination be removed from the recommendation.  It had originally been added in 2005, but the data suggests that administering the birth dose in the hospital leads to timely completion of the series. The current birth dose coverage was stated to be 72.4% of children, which remains below the Healthy People 2020 goal of 84%.

The Committee voted to remove the permissive language as well as include new language to clarify that the first dose of vaccine should be administered within 24 hours of birth, which is more explicit than “before hospital discharge”.

The anticipated changes to the previous recommendation are indicated below, however the exact wording may differ once published by the CDC:

“For all medically stable infants weighing 2,000 grams or more at birth and born to HBsAg-negative mothers, the first dose of vaccine should be administered before hospital discharge within 24 hours of birth.  Only single antigen HepB vaccine should be used for the birth dose. On a case-by-case basis and only in rare circumstances, the first dose may be delayed until after hospital discharge for an infant who weighs 2,000 grams or more and whose mother is HBsAG-negative.

*It should be noted that for those infants with birth weight of less than 2,000 grams, the birth dose is not counted as part of the vaccine series.

There was some discussion concerning the removal of the option to delay vaccination and it was emphasized that having a clear recommendation from the ACIP is not a vaccine mandate.  Rather, practitioners, public health professionals and parents rely on the ACIP recommendations as expert guidance and best practice. The Hepatitis B “birth dose” has been a successful strategy to help eliminate hepatitis B virus transmission in the U.S., and the ACIP’s revised recommendations only emphasize the importance of vaccinating within the 24 hours timeframe that will help prevent further transmission.

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Other key updates to the hepatitis B vaccine recommendations included:

  • Providing examples of chronic liver disease, including recommending HepB vaccine for persons with HCV infection.
  • Post vaccination serologic testing for infants who’s mother’s HBsAg status remains  unknown indefinitely.
  • Testing HBsAg-positive pregnant women for HBV DNA.

For more information as to why babies need a Hepatitis B vaccine at birth, read these Shot of Prevention blog posts here

Pertussis Vaccine

The Committee reviewed the history of Tdap vaccination in pregnant women and reviewed studies that found that maternal Tdap vaccination to both safe and effective at preventing infant pertussis. Read more…

Understanding Why Your Baby Needs a Hepatitis B Vaccine At Birth

June 22, 2016 3 comments

Parents Often Underestimate the Risk of Hepatitis B

You can protect your child at birth with a hepatitis B vaccination 

A guest post by Carolyn Aldigé, President and Founder, Prevent Cancer Foundation

GrandmaBabyiStock_000051076236_Double.jpgWhen you hold your newborn for the first time, it is a life-changing moment. An incredible sense of responsibility takes hold, including ensuring the safety and security of your child. And yet some parents don’t realize that making sure your children receive the hepatitis B vaccine before they leave the hospital is a critical first step in protecting your newborn.

Hepatitis B is a frequently misunderstood virus—you may mistakenly think your child is not at risk for hepatitis B because of misconceptions surrounding the transmission of this infection. Research also shows few people are aware of the connection between hepatitis B and liver cancer.

In an effort to help save lives, the Prevent Cancer Foundation launched Think About the Link™, an education campaign to raise awareness of the link between viruses and cancer, including hepatitis B and liver cancer, and how to prevent them. The hepatitis B virus spreads through blood or other bodily fluids that contain small amounts of blood (even tiny amounts too small to see) from an infected person. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), infants and children can contract hepatitis B in the following ways:

  • At birth from their infected mother; 
  • Being bitten by an infected person; 
  • Touching open cuts or sores of an infected person;
  • Sharing toothbrushes or other personal items used by an infected person; and
  • Food that was chewed (for a baby) by an infected person.

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Additionally, the hepatitis B virus can survive outside the body for at least seven days. This poses major risks for babies, who frequently place objects in their mouths and could come into contact with an infected object.

The CDC’s recommended schedule for the hepatitis B vaccine will offer your child the greatest protection, including having your newborn vaccinated with the first of three doses before you leave the hospital.i Nearly 90 percent of infants who contract hepatitis B remain chronically infected. You can avoid this risk altogether by vaccinating your child. The hepatitis B vaccine not only offers protection against the virus, but ultimately can prevent cancer.PCF_Logo_2016

Infants are at real risk of becoming infected with hepatitis B, which means they are at real risk of developing cancer. Vaccinating your child at birth is the best way to prevent hepatitis B and liver cancer, and is a critical part of your role as protector.

For more information about Hepatitis B and the vaccine to help prevent it, check out these additional CDC resources:

 

 

 

 

 

You Could be One Vaccination Away from Preventing Cancer

Carolyn R. Aldigé HeadshotThe Hepatitis B vaccine prevents cancer. Take action. 

A guest post by Carolyn Aldigé, President and Founder, Prevent Cancer Foundation

Parents want the best for their children and will do much to ensure that they live happy and healthy lives. However, statistics show that parents are missing the opportunity to protect their children against cancer.  This is why the “State of the ImmUnion” effort led by Every Child by Two is so important. The rates for vaccination against the hepatitis B virus in children need improvement, and the hepatitis B vaccine not only offers protection against the virus, but also, ultimately, prevents cancer.

Unfortunately, not enough people are aware of the connection between hepatitis B and liver cancer. In an effort to help save lives, the Prevent Cancer Foundation launched Think About the Link, an education campaign to raise awareness of the link between certain viruses and cancer, including hepatitis B and liver cancer, and how to prevent them.

TATL_CampaignBreakdown_May2016Hepatitis B is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus.

Approximately 700,000 to 1.4 million people in this country have a chronic hepatitis B virus infection.  A transfer of the virus can occur from mother to child during birth. Transmission also can occur through bodily fluids from a person who has the virus; sexual contact; or through sharing needles, syringes, or other drug-injection equipment. Over time, the virus can lead to serious liver conditions, including cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) or liver cancer. Liver cancer kills approximately 16,000 men and 7,000 women in the U.S. each year. Unfortunately, the numbers continue to rise each year. However, through vaccination against the hepatitis B virus, the disease can be prevented.

Follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended schedule for the hepatitis B vaccine to offer your child the greatest protection, since nearly 90 percent of infants who contract hepatitis B remain chronically infected, while only two to six percent of adults do.

The CDC recommends all children receive their first dose of the hepatitis B vaccine at birth and complete the three-to-four dose series between six and 18 months of age. Currently, only 72 percent of babies receive their first dose at birth.  We believe this percentage is not higher because parents are unaware the vaccine also prevents liver cancer.

According to a survey conducted by the Prevent Cancer Foundation, 67 percent of adults are unaware the hepatitis B vaccine can reduce the risk of liver cancer. Additionally, we found that only 27 percent of physicians and other health care providers use cancer prevention as a compliance strategy for this vaccine.

We can help more people think about the link between viruses and cancer.

If you are a health care provider, be sure to discuss the hepatitis B vaccine as a cancer prevention strategy with parents and other adults. If you are a parent whose child has not been vaccinated against the hepatitis B virus, make an appointment to talk with your doctor today.

Also, if you are an adult who has not received the hepatitis B vaccine, which became available in 1982, make an appointment with your health care provider to be screened and/or vaccinated. It is not too late. There are cancers that science has not yet discovered how to prevent; however, there are several types of the disease that we can avoid. Vaccinating against the hepatitis B virus is a proven method to prevent liver cancer.

For more information about Think About the Link and helpful resources on hepatitis B, visit the Prevent Cancer Foundation website.

Help spread the word about the link so we can Stop Cancer Before It Starts!

On World Cancer Day Remember Vaccines Help Prevent Certain Cancers

February 4, 2016 2 comments

Yes, it’s World Cancer Day, but did you know that vaccines are currently helping to prevent and treat various types of cancer?

See, some cancers are caused by viruses and right now there  two commonly recommended vaccines (HepB and HPV) that target the very viruses that cause certain cancers.  We call these preventive cancer vaccines and they are a first-line defense against many cancers.  

Hepatitis B (HepB) Vaccine:

HepB112315The hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a leading cause of liver cancer.   People who have chronic (long-term) HBV infections are at higher risk for liver cancer.  Unfortunately, that’s about 1 in 20 people (or about 350 million individuals). In fact, the virus is believed to be responsible for 600,000 deaths worldwide each year.  That means every 50 seconds someone dies from this vaccine-preventable disease.  

The likelihood that a hepatitis B infection will become chronic depends upon the age at which a person becomes infected.  Statistics show that 80–90% of infants who are infected during the first year of life, go on to develop chronic infections which is why infants are recommended to receive the Hepatitis B vaccine at birth.

Experts agree that the 3-shot HepB vaccine can provide lifelong protection against HBV and helping to prevent the most common cause of liver cancer.  The vaccine is not only proven safe, but is believed to be 95% effective at preventing HBV infection.  Furthermore, the vaccination series can be started at any age and does not require any boosters.  In fact, the vaccine is so effective at preventing HBV and liver cancer that the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared it the world’s first “anti-cancer  vaccine”.

To learn more about why it is so important for infants to get a birth dose of HepB vaccine, check out another Shot of Prevention blog, “Why Infants Should Receive the Hepatitis B Vaccine at Birth” here.  

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine:

HPV112315Human papillomavirus is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States and is often referred to as the common cold of the genitals.  About 1 in 4 Americans are currently infected (that’s about 80 million Americans), roughly 14 million people become newly infected each year, and about half of these new infections will be among people ages 15-24.

HPV infections are not only highly prevalent, but they can also result in cancerous cells that can lead to cancers of the cervix, vulva, vagina, penis, anus or oropharynx (which includes the head, neck, throat, mouth, tongue and tonsils). Read more…

Hepatitis B: Why Worry, Why Vaccinate?

HepBmayHepatitis B is a liver infection that is caused by the hepatitis B virus which is spread when blood or other body fluid infected with the hepatitis B virus enters the body of a person who is not infected.

Prevalence of hepatitis B infection

Data from 2009 indicates that an estimated 800,000 to 1.4 million people are living with chronic hepatitis B in the United States alone. With so many people living with this chronic infection, it’s not surprising that approximately 3,000 deaths from chronic liver disease occur each year that are also directly associated with viral hepatitis. While you may believe that you or your family members are at low risk of contracting hepatitis B, the fact is that many people in the U.S. are infected and many people don’t even know they’re infected since they often don’t feel or look sick.  In fact, nearly 2 out of 3 people infected with hepatitis B are not aware that they have the virus.  Therefore, they don’t take the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of infection to others, including their own children.

Fortunately, 90% of persons who become infected with hepatitis B as adults will clear the infection from the body within 6 months, while the remaining 10% who are unable to clear it will go on to suffer with chronic infection that often leads to inflammation and scarring of the liver.  Then, about 15%-25% of those people with chronic infections will go on to develop serious liver conditions such as liver damage, liver failure, or even liver cancer.

Unfortunately, when a baby is infected at birth or during infancy the percentages are reversed.  Only 10% clear the infection on their own and the remaining 90% will go on to develop chronic hepatitis B infection. This is why the hepatitis B vaccine is so important for newborns.

HepBVaxInfographicImportance of hepatitis B vaccine at birth

Read more…

Universal HepB Vaccination Provides Long-Term Protection

June 21, 2012 13 comments

In the past, there has been quite a lot of discussion on this blog regarding the Hepatitis B vaccine that is recommended for infants here in the U.S.  Because of this, I wanted to point out an interesting Reuters Health article I read today regarding a new study that was conducted in Taiwan, a country that has historically battled high rates of Hepatitis B infection.

Unfortunately, Hepatitis B is a viral infection that attacks the liver and spreads by contact with the blood or other bodily fluids of an infected person.  According to the Hepatitis B Foundation, an estimated 350 million people worldwide have the hepatitis B virus and approximately 100,000 new people are infected each year in the United States alone.  In fact, one in twenty people in the U.S. have been exposed to Hepatitis B. 

Since Hepatitis B infection is a prime cause of liver cancer, and the second most common cancer type in Taiwan, the country began mandating immunization for all infants as of 1984.  Interestingly enough, the current research findings reinforce five previous surveys since 1984, that all found lower infections among those born after the mandate.  In 2009, study participants younger than age 25 were far less likely to be infected than those between the ages of 26 and 30 — who were born before universal vaccination.

As detailed in a recent Reuters Health article, the new study funded by the National Taiwan University Hospital, enrolled more than 3,300 participants under 30. Of these subjects, more than 2,900 — born after the mandate — received at least three doses of vaccine in their first year. Approximately 370 subjects, born before 1984, were not universally vaccinated.  After collecting blood samples throughout 2009, the research team found that less than one percent of the universally vaccinated group carried the virus and were infectious to others, compared with 10 percent of those who weren’t universally vaccinated.  The research also suggests that booster doses were unnecessary, since the infection rate did not increase significantly from 1989 to 2009. Read more…