Researchers and people living with hepatitis B meet in Paris at the third Hepatitis B Community Forum <<Click here>>

COVID-19 Update

        On Dec. 16, 2021, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) endorsed a recommendation by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) for preferred use of mRNA vaccines over the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. This means that in the U.S., mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) will be the preferred vaccination for most adults. If you have any questions, talk to your health care provider about which vaccine option is best for you. Learn more about the recommendation here.        
        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.

COVID-19 Treatment and Liver Disease
There are treatments approved for COVID-19, which can lessen the severity of COVID-19 illness. The treatments are primarily for people who are at increased risk of severe illness if they get COVID-19 infection. If you have hepatitis B and/or liver disease, please talk to your health care provider before taking any COVID-19 treatment. Some COVID-19 treatments can cause liver damage, and in someone who already has hepatitis B and/or liver disease (such as cirrhosis or liver cancer), this can be more dangerous. If a doctor is considering prescribing you treatment for COVID-19, please tell them about your hepatitis B infection/liver disease, to prevent additional liver damage. The doctor can then monitor your liver for as long as you take COVID-19 treatment.

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

 

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