Babies in the UK from 1 August 2017 will be offered the hepatitis B vaccination, as part of Public Health England’s universal immunisation programme.
Infants in the UK will continue to be offered immunisation against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio and Hib at ages of 8, 12 and 16 weeks.
The change that has been made is the component of the hexavalent vaccination to include protection against hepatitis B.
Head of Immunisation at Public Health England, Mary Ramsay, said: “Until today, only children at high risk of hepatitis B would be immunised. The introduction of hexavalent vaccines means that all children will now be routinely protected against this serious infection, which is a major cause of cirrhosis and liver cancer later in life.
“The hexavalent vaccine has been extensively tested and shown to be safe and is widely used internationally with millions of doses being given around the world.”
Around 150 million doses of the hexavalent vaccine is given across 97 countries.
The UK Government announced its participation to the World Health Organization’s hepatitis strategy to work towards eliminating hepatitis as a major health risk by 2030.
At the end of July 2017, on World Hepatitis Day, the UK National Screening Committee outlined recommendations that all pregnant women in the UK should be screened for hepatitis B so that interventions can be implemented to reduce the risk of transmission between woman and baby.
The UK National Screening Committee says that transmission from woman to baby could be prevented in 90-95% of cases.
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