Why we refused the Hepatitis B vaccine
*What is Hepatitis B?
"Hepatitis B is a contagious liver disease that ranges in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, lifelong illness. It results from infection with the Hepatitis B virus. Hepatitis B can be either “acute” or “chronic.”"
*Acute Hepatitis B is a short term illness. It is treated the same way a common cold is treated.
Lots of fluids and plenty of rest.
Once you recover from Acute Hepatitis B, you have lifelong immunity to Hepatitis B. Acute Hepatitis B is more common in adults. According to the CDC, 90%–94% of people infected with Hepatitis B over 5 years of age will have Acute Hepatitis B.
*Chronic Hepatitis B is a long-term illness which means the illness does not go away. According to the CDC, worldwide, most people with chronic Hepatitis B were infected at birth or during early childhood. Approximately 90% of infected infants will develop chronic infection.
Most individuals with chronic Hepatitis B remain symptom free for as long as 20 or 30 years. About 15%–25% of people with chronic Hepatitis B develop serious liver conditions, such as cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) or liver cancer.
0.0006-0.0013% of the US population dies of Chronic Hepatitis B related diseases each year.
*How common is Hepatitis B?
According to the CDC, In 2007, 0.0143% of the US population (about 43,000 out of 301,139,947) developed new cases of Hepatitis B.
*How is Hepatitis B spread and how is it not spread?
According to the CDC, You are at risk for Hepatitis B if you:
"Have sex with an infected person
Have multiple sex partners
Have a sexually transmitted disease
Are men who have sexual contact with other men
Inject drugs or share needles, syringes, or other drug equipment
Live with a person who has chronic Hepatitis B
Are infants born to infected mothers
Are exposed to blood on the job
Are hemodialysis patients
Travel to countries with moderate to high rates of Hepatitis B"
"Hepatitis B is NOT spread by sharing eating utensils, breastfeeding, hugging, kissing, holding hands, coughing, or sneezing."
Hepatitis B is recommended to be administered within 24 hours of birth regardless of a mother's negative test result.
The reason for this recommendation is because the incubation time for the virus is 6 months from the time of transmission so it would most likely not show up on a STD test if it was contracted during the pregnancy,
STD tests are not always accurate, and the mother could lie or be unaware about practicing behaviour that could put her at risk for Hepatitis B transmission.
So it's safer that all newborns receive the shot at birth right?
Hepatitis B should not be administered in individuals who are allergic to yeast or latex as this can cause serious anaphylactic reactions including death but this is hard to determine at birth until it happens.
But it's tested, right? The CDC says it's safe.
According to the Manufacturer of the vaccine,
"In three clinical studies, 434 doses of RECOMBIVAX HB, 5 mcg, were administered to 147 healthy
infants and children (up to 10 years of age) who were monitored for 5 days after each dose."
"As with other hepatitis B vaccines, the duration of the protective effect of RECOMBIVAX HB in healthy vaccinees is unknown at present, and the need for booster doses is not yet defined."
During those clinical studies, the adverse effects of the vaccine included:
Injection site reactions
fever (over 100°F)
Upper respiratory infection
Sensation of warmth
Pruritus; rash (non-specified)
Arthralgia including monoarticular; myalgia; back pain; neck pain; shoulder pain; and neck stiffness
Marketed Experience (after licensing):
Hypotensive episodes have been reported within the first few hours after vaccination.
Hypersensitivity syndrome (serum-sickness-like) of delayed onset has been reported days to weeks after
vaccination, including: arthralgia/arthritis (usually transient), fever, and dermatologic reactions such as
Urticaria, erythema multiforme, ecchymoses and erythema nodosum.
Elevation of liver enzymes
Guillain-Barré Syndrome (French Polio)
Exacerbation of multiple sclerosis
Peripheral neuropathy including Bell's Palsy
Pain in extremity
Increased erythrocyte sedimentation rate
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
But these reactions are very rare, right?
According to the vaccine manufacturer product insert, 1% or a little less developed serious adverse reactions to the vaccine.
Does that make the Hepatitis B vaccine safe?
According to the US Census bureau, In 2010, the US population was was estimated to be 308,745,538
According to the CDC, an estimated 91% of US population had received the Hepatitis vaccine by 7 months of age in 2010. 91% of 308,745,538 people is 280,958,439.6 people who received the vaccine in 2010.
According to the Manufacturer's product insert, 1% or a little less of the people that received the vaccine experienced serious adverse reactions. 1% of the 280,958,439.6 people that received the vaccine is 2,809,584 people that experienced serious adverse reactions.
2,809,584 people out of 308,745,538 people in the US makes 0.91% of the US population that experienced serious adverse reactions including death.
Compare this to the previously mentioned CDC estimate of 0.0006-0.0013% of people that die from Chronic Hepatitis B-related complications and the 0.014% that develop Hepatitis B at all.
The risk of causing my child a serious adverse reaction as a result of the Hepatitis B vaccine would have been 700 to 1,516.66 times HIGHER than the risk of developing a serious complication from Hepatitis B.
The chance of causing my child a serious adverse reaction as a result of the Hepatitis B vaccine would have been 65 times higher than the risk of developing Hepatitis B at all.
CDC Hepatitis B info page
Vaccine Manufacturer Product Insert
US Census Bureau population information
CDC National Vaccine Statistics