Why is Hepatitis B vaccine given to infants now instead of...


Why is Hepatitis B vaccine given to infants now instead of in grade 6


The grade 6 hepatitis B immunization program that BC introduced in 1992 was effective in eliminating hepatitis B infection among successive grade 6 cohorts. However, cases of acute hepatitis B continued to occur in the province, affecting children younger than grade 6 age. In 2001 a universal hepatitis B immunization program for infants was introduced with the aim of eliminating childhood hepatitis B infection in the province.

Providing the hepatitis B vaccine in infancy protects against infection when the risk of developing chronic hepatitis B infection is highest.  The younger a person is when they become infected with hepatitis B, the greater the risk of the person becoming a chronic carrier. Infants have a 90% to 95% chance, children over one year and less than 5 years of age 25% to 50% chance, and adolescents and adults 3% to 10% chance of developing chronic infection. 

If you would like more information about the hepatitis B vaccine or about hepatitis B, we recommend that you contact your local public health unit and ask to speak to a public health nurse. You can find the contact information for your local public health unit here

- Immunization Nurse