Viral Hepatitis Updates from the HHS Office of
HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy
|National Immunization Awareness Month – Vaccines Can Prevent Hepatitis A and B!
August is National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM)! This month is an opportunity to increase awareness of the importance of immunizations and their role in protecting thepublic’s health and make sure you have the vaccines recommended for you and your family. Safe and effective vaccines are available to prevent hepatitis A and hepatitis B infections, but not enough people get vaccinated. Vaccination is the best way to prevent these infections and to avoid the serious illness and death associated with hepatitis A and chronic hepatitis B infections.
Recent CDC data show an increase in new hepatitis B infections between 2014 and 2015. The highest rates are among people 30 to 50 years of age since most people younger than 30 were vaccinated as children. Additionally, several regions of the country areexperiencing outbreaks of hepatitis A—close to 500 new infections have been reported and the outbreaks have caused at least 16 deaths. These trends highlight need to expand vaccination efforts for both hepatitis A and B, especially among the most vulnerable populations. The National Vaccine Program Office has developed the National Adult Immunization Plan which outlines strategies and recommendations for increasing adult immunizations, including hepatitis A and B.
The hepatitis B vaccine protects newborns so ensuring that all infants receive their hepatitis B vaccinations – including the universal birth dose administered within 24 hours of birth – is a critical strategy to eliminate perinatal transmission. But people of all ages can benefit from vaccination for hepatitis A and hepatitis B.
Did You Know?
To get involved this month, be sure to check for new blogs at www.hhs.gov/hepatitis, download the NIAM toolkit (from the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases and the National Public Health Information Coalition), find places nearby that have the hepatitis A and B vaccines using the HealthMap Vaccine Finder, use the #NIAM17 hashtag on social media, and visit the CDC’s website for additional resources.