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COVID-19 Update

        The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases published a blog post on May 20 by Kate Moraras, MPH, who is deputy director, public health, of the Hepatitis B Foundation, titled, "The impact of COVID-19 on people living with hepatitis B." You can read it here.
        On May 18, The Global Hepatology Society, which is composed of the major professional clinical liver societies around the globe, released the statement below, encouraging people with liver disease to be vaccinated for COVID-19. The Global Hepatology Society includes: American Association for the Study of Liver Disease (AASLD), European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL), ALEH (Latin American Association for the Study of the Liver) and The Asian Pacific Association for the Study of the Liver (APASL).
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Global Hepatology Society Statement

Vaccination for SARS-CoV-2 in Patients with Liver Disease

As global societies committed to helping patients with liver disease, we have been closely monitoring developments related to the SARS-CoV-2 virus and its impact on those in our care. It is for this reason that we four societies have taken the following positions around COVID-19 vaccination:

  • We strongly recommend that all patients with liver disease (viral and non-viral disease, including fatty liver) undergo immunization with any authorized COVID-19 vaccine that is offered to them.
  • We recommend that patients with advanced chronic liver disease, liver cancer, and those post-liver transplant should be prioritized for vaccination for SARS-CoV-2.
  • Whilst the vaccine trials have not comprehensively evaluated safety in patients with chronic liver disease, there are no data to suggest that COVID-19 vaccines cause any adverse outcomes in this group of patients, including organ rejection or flares of autoimmune disease.
Only by achieving global coverage can we succeed in our battle against SARS-CoV-2. We therefore encourage governments to ensure vaccines are distributed to low- and middle-income countries to provide equitable access.

Vaccination is key to preventing spread and reducing serious illness and death due to COVID-19. We encourage all those within the hepatitis B community to talk with their clinical care providers about getting vaccinated. Please read more here.

 

World Health Organization (WHO) advice, including vaccines that have met the WHO criteria for safety and efficacy, is posted here.

 

Professional Liver Disease Resources and Statements

AASLD has released an expert panel consensus statement “Vaccines to prevent COVID-19 infection in patients with liver disease.” They also have a robust patient resource page, offering information and webinars for people with viral hepatitis and liver disease.

EASL has released a policy statement on COVID-19 vaccination for people with liver disease or liver transplantation. EASL also has a webpage with internal and external resources and published a position paper in August 2020, “Impact of COVID-19 on the care of patients with liver disease.”

 

COVID-19 Vaccine Information Resources

 

Research Studies on COVID-19 and Liver Disease

  • Marjot T, Webb GJ, Barritt AS 4th, Moon AM, Stamataki Z, Wong VW, Barnes E. COVID-19 and liver disease: mechanistic and clinical perspectives. Nature Reviews Gastroenterology &  Hepatology 2021 Mar 10:1–17. doi: 10.1038/s41575-021-00426-4. Epub ahead of print. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41575-021-00426-4
  • Chen X, Jiang Q, Ma Z, Ling J, Hu W, Cao Q, Mo P, Yao L, Yang R, Gao S, Gui X, Hou W, Xiong Y, Li J, Zhang Y. Clinical Characteristics of Hospitalized Patients with SARS-CoV-2 and Hepatitis B Virus Co-infection. Virologica Sinica 2020 Aug 24:1–4. Epub ahead of print. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12250-020-00276-5
  • Liu J, Wang T, Cai Q, Sun L, Huang D, Zhou G, He Q, Wang FS, Liu L, Chen J. Longitudinal changes of liver function and hepatitis B reactivation in COVID-19 patients with pre-existing chronic hepatitis B virus infection. Hepatology Research 2020 Nov;50(11):1211-1221. Epub 2020 Aug 29. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/hepr.13553
  • Liu R, Zhao L, Cheng X, Huan H, Li C, Li D, Liu A, Gao G, Zhou F, Liu F, Jiang Y, Zhu C, Xia Y. Clinical Characteristics of COVID-19 Patients with Hepatitis B Virus Infection - a Retrospective Study. Liver International 2020 Dec 22. Epub ahead of print. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/liv.14774
  • Rodríguez-Tajes S, Miralpeix A, Costa J, López-Suñé E, Laguno M, Pocurull A, Lens S, Mariño Z, Forns X. Low risk of hepatitis B reactivation in patients with severe COVID-19 who receive immunosuppressive therapy. Journal of Viral Hepatitis 2021 Jan;28(1):89-94. Epub 2020 Oct 12. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jvh.13410
  • Zou X, Fang M, Li S, Wu L, Gao B, Gao H, Ran X, Bian Y, Li R, ShanshanYu, Ling J, Li D, Tian D, Huang J. Characteristics of Liver Function in Patients With SARS-CoV-2 and Chronic HBV Coinfection. Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology 2020 Jun 15:S1542-3565(20)30821-1. Epub ahead of print. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1542356520308211

 

Additional Resources

 

What We Are Doing

The Hepatitis B Foundation is rapidly responding to requests for information from people around the world living with hepatitis B. We continue to take phone, email and social media requests to help people with hepatitis B and liver disease make informed decisions about COVID-19 vaccination. We are trying to provide the latest information and data, so please check this website often for new updates, or contact us if you have specific questions. We are also proactively advocating for our communities. In February 2021, we started an advocacy campaign, including a public statement and online petition, urging companies with clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccines to include people with hepatitis B and liver disease, and to make sub-group data publicly available. To include your voice, you can sign this petition now!

Out of an abundance of caution, and in line with state and federal recommendations, the Hepatitis B Foundation staff is currently teleworking indefinitely and monitoring the COVID-19 situation daily. We are 100% business as usual, with a few notable exceptions:

  • We are restricting visitors to our physical location and following all state and federal recommendations to keep our staff and community healthy.
  • We are postponing all community events and switching scheduled in-person meetings to remote when possible.
  • We are still responding to telephone calls to our helpline, but you will need to leave a voice message at 215-489-4900. We will return your call as soon as we can. During this time, it is best to email your hepatitis B questions to the helpline at info@hepb.org

We recommend that you follow guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to keep you, your family and your community safe.

Finally, you might find interesting this message from Dr. Timothy Block, Hepatitis B Foundation President.

4/10/20