What is the vaccine?
This vaccine protects against Hepatitis B.
When is it administered?
1 dose, recommended in the first 2 months of life up to 18 months old
What is the disease?
Hep B is a sexually transmitted virus that causes liver damage and in some cases failure. It can lead to death. It can also be passed on through infected IV drug needles, tattoo needles or accidental sticking of a needle.
Is it serious?
Hepatitis B is very serious and can be fatal for infants with approximately 90% becoming chronically infected, even if it doesn’t develop for several years. Later in life, 25% of this infected population will have liver cancer or failure. Teenagers and adults who develop the disease are less likely to suffer from grave consequences (more like 6-10% chronically infected). Additionally, there is no reliable treatment once the disease reaches the acute, active phase.
Is it common?
Hepatitis is quite uncommon in infants with less than 3,600 cases per year and some believe less than 200. However, since Hepatitis B is transferred through blood it can be passed along from an infected mom to her baby through the birthing process. Additionally, if a family member is infected, a baby can develop disease through saliva (although rare) and blood exposure through living in close quarters.
Is the vaccine controversial?
The vaccine does contain undesirable ingredients including 250 micrograms of aluminum and traces of formaldehyde.
Mama Natural’s take:
Since the main way of contracting this disease is through sexual relations or infected needles, we decided against this vaccine. We may reconsider when we travel internationally since the standards of medical care vary and there may be a risk of dirty needles.
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