New Two-Dose HBV Vaccine Recommended by ACIP
Hepatitis B Foundation Leaders Expect Use of HEPLISAV-B to Increase Immunization Rates in U.S.
DOYLESTOWN, PA (February 22, 2018): The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ (ACIP) voted February 21, 2018, to unanimously recommend HEPLISAV-B™ for use among individuals age 18 years and older to prevent hepatitis B infection (HBV). The Hepatitis B Foundation welcomes the use of the new vaccine, which is expected to increase immunization rates for adults in the United States. HEPLISAV-B™ was approved for use by the FDA on July 28, 2017. It is the first new hepatitis B vaccine in more than 25 years, and the only two dose vaccine for the prevention of infection.
Previous vaccines for hepatitis B require three doses over the course of six months to protect against this deadly liver infection, and vaccination initiatives have shown that as few as 13% of people who receive the first dose of the vaccine complete the final dose.
According to Kate Moraras, Senior Program Director of the Hepatitis B Foundation, who provided public testimony at this morning’s ACIP meeting, “Vaccination is a critical tool towards eliminating hepatitis B, but in the U.S. only 25% of adults are vaccinated. Having a new 2-dose vaccine can help to greatly increase vaccine coverage, especially among those at high-risk for infection, such as people with diabetes and HIV-infected individuals.”
More than 257 million people worldwide and up to 2.2 million in the United States are chronically infected with hepatitis B, a virus that can lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer in up to 25% of those infected.
Hepatitis B is associated with significant health disparities in the U.S., disproportionately affecting Asian American, Pacific Islander, and African communities. In addition, the number of reported cases of acute HBV infection across the country is rising along with the increased use of opioids and injection drugs.
Binh Ly, a hepatitis B advocate from Washington. D.C., also provided testimony at the ACIP meeting, stating that “the availability of a two-dose vaccine over 1 month instead of being given as 3 doses over 6 months is a critical tool to protect many more Americans - this is one less barrier for vulnerable and at-risk communities to receive necessary protection.”
ACIP is a committee of medical and public health experts who develop recommendations to guide the use of vaccines and develop vaccine schedules for the U.S. ACIP’s new HEPLISAV-B™ recommendation will now be sent to the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for approval. Once approved, the recommendation will be published in an upcoming CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) and will represent an official CDC recommendation for hepatitis B vaccination in the U.S.
About the Hepatitis B Foundation
The Hepatitis B Foundation is the nation’s leading nonprofit organization solely dedicated to finding a cure for hepatitis B and improving the quality of life for those affected worldwide through research, education and patient advocacy. To learn more, go to www.hepb.org, read our blog at hepb.org/blog, follow us on Twitter @HepBFoundation, find us on Facebook at facebook.com/hepbfoundation or call 215-489-4900.
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