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Hepatitis B Foundation releases white paper calling health care providers into action following new hepatitis B screening and vaccination recommendations

Addressing the new CDC guidance, the paper is titled, “Call to Action:

Eliminating Hepatitis B Virus through Universal Screening and Vaccination for Adults Ages 19-59.”

Doylestown, Pa., March 15, 2023 – After the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last week released new guidance for hepatitis B screening, adding to updated recommendations on vaccination that the CDC put out last spring, the Hepatitis B Foundation sprang into action.

The Foundation has produced a white paper with guidance on how health care providers in the U.S. can begin implementing these new universal hepatitis B screening and vaccination (for adults ages 19-59) guidelines. Aligning and implementing these new recommendations will require a concerted national effort with collaboration among numerous stakeholders, such as medical societies, which is why the white paper was developed.

The Hepatitis B Screening and Vaccine Advisory Council, which was convened in April 2022 by the Hepatitis B Foundation, developed the white paper. The advisory council’s mission is to improve adult hepatitis B vaccination and screening rates by helping providers successfully implement the new vaccination and screening guidelines in their practice.  Advisory council members included federal agencies, national medical societies, community health centers, public health organizations, health department representation and leading hepatitis B experts. The advisory council identified key barriers to hepatitis B screening and vaccination in various settings and formulated strategies to optimize the implementation of the new recommendations. 

This resource serves as a call to action for providers. It summarizes the key challenges to universal screening and vaccination and suggests potential strategies to optimize the implementation. The paper makes clear that it is imperative we have urgent action in three key areas: educating stakeholders, exploring multi-stakeholder collaborations and technology innovations, and addressing vaccine hesitancy.

The white paper is intended to be a resource for all providers, as various health care settings will require different strategies for successful implementation. In addition to challenges and implementation strategies for universal screening and vaccination, the white paper includes best practices from groups who have begun implementation and resources for providers to access tools in hepatitis B prevention, diagnosis, management and treatment. 

The CDC’s Advisory Council on Immunization Practices recommended the updated vaccination guidelines in November 2021. Universal hepatitis B screening guidelines were recommendation by CDC in March 2023.

About Hepatitis B: Hepatitis B is the most common serious liver infection in the world. It is caused by the hepatitis B virus that attacks and injures the liver. Each year up to 1 million people die from hepatitis B worldwide, even though it is preventable and treatable. Hepatitis B is a “silent epidemic” because most people do not have symptoms when they are newly or chronically infected. Thus, they can unknowingly infect others and continue the spread of hepatitis B. For people who are chronically infected but don’t have any symptoms, their livers are still being silently damaged, which can develop into serious liver disease such as cirrhosis or liver cancer.

About the Hepatitis B Foundation: We are 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. Founded in 1991, the Hepatitis B Foundation is based in Doylestown, Pa., with offices in Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia. To learn more, go to www.hepb.org, read our blog at hepb.org/blog, follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook (@hepbfoundation) or call us at 215-489-4900. To donate, contact Jean Holmes at 215-489-4900 or jean.holmes@hepb.org.