Hepatitis A

Our analysis of Hepatitis A

Who is at risk?

CDC’s Pink Book hepatitis a chapter

Manufacturer’s Inserts and efficacy statements:
Havrix– efficacy ranges between 60-94%

On the CDC’s FAQ page for Hep A:

In children aged <6 years, 70% of infections are asymptomatic; if illness does occur, it is typically not accompanied by jaundice. Among older children and adults, infection is typically symptomatic, with jaundice occurring in >70% of patients.

Unlike hepatitis B and hepatitis C, hepatitis A causes no long-term liver damage and usually does not cause death. There is no chronic carrier state with hepatitis A. Having had the disease produces lifelong immunity from future hepatitis A infection.

This statement by Robert Kennedy found in the transcript of a vaccine hearing before the Committee on Government Reform (House of Representatives) is pretty clear on the infant/Hepatitis issue.

Two specific vaccines come to mind, hepatitis A and hepatitis B. I will not go into a long-winded scientific process and simply state that the chance of an infant or child getting either hepatitis A or hepatitis B is close to none or nonexistent. When the potential for exposure does exist, those risk factors are easily identified. Even more disturbing is that hepatitis A causes a self-limiting infection and does not cause chronic disease. It is my opinion that parents should be made aware of the risks and benefits of each vaccine where the chance for infection during infancy is minimal to nonexistent.

Dr. Kennedy is a professor of microbiology and immunology and obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center as well as a research scientist.

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