17 doctors weighed in:
Why does my child need a hepatitis b vaccine if he is not yet at risk of contracting the disease?
17 doctors weighed in

Dr. Marc Grella
Pediatrics
8 doctors agree
In brief: Safe and effective
Hepatitis b is a serious disease; it can lead to liver cancer and cirrhosis.
Expectant mothers are tested for hep b during pregnancy but they may become infected after testing is done. To assure a baby never gets this disease, hep b vaccine is used at birth. The vaccine is safe and it works. In addition, we never think our kids are "at risk" of getting an "adult" disease; until they have it.

In brief: Safe and effective
Hepatitis b is a serious disease; it can lead to liver cancer and cirrhosis.
Expectant mothers are tested for hep b during pregnancy but they may become infected after testing is done. To assure a baby never gets this disease, hep b vaccine is used at birth. The vaccine is safe and it works. In addition, we never think our kids are "at risk" of getting an "adult" disease; until they have it.
Dr. Marc Grella
Dr. Marc Grella
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1 comment
Dr. Robert Lowe
It is also less expensive to immunize infants due to the smaller amounts of vaccine used.There is absolutely no reason to not vaccinate
Dr. James Ferguson
Pediatrics
2 doctors agree
In brief: Risk is ever-present
I saw a 6mo baby with hep b years ago.
In for another problem, his liver tests showed tremendous damage. Mom didn't know she got it while pregnant & passed it on. Poor kid. That vaccine was first used extensively in hawaii where mom to baby passage was common. Rates of hep b, liver failure & cancer dropped. Vaccines are given as early as they will work. Any delay is unnecessary & may be deadly.

In brief: Risk is ever-present
I saw a 6mo baby with hep b years ago.
In for another problem, his liver tests showed tremendous damage. Mom didn't know she got it while pregnant & passed it on. Poor kid. That vaccine was first used extensively in hawaii where mom to baby passage was common. Rates of hep b, liver failure & cancer dropped. Vaccines are given as early as they will work. Any delay is unnecessary & may be deadly.
Dr. James Ferguson
Dr. James Ferguson
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Dr. Robert Kwok
Pediatrics
2 doctors agree
In brief: At risk from birth
A child is at risk of catching hepatitis b, from the day he is born.
So, the vaccine is usually started on that day. Hepatitis b virus is in blood and bodily fluids, and is very contagious. Almost all people who are carriers of hepatitis b "look normal", so one cannot tell who is carrying the virus, among the general population.

In brief: At risk from birth
A child is at risk of catching hepatitis b, from the day he is born.
So, the vaccine is usually started on that day. Hepatitis b virus is in blood and bodily fluids, and is very contagious. Almost all people who are carriers of hepatitis b "look normal", so one cannot tell who is carrying the virus, among the general population.
Dr. Robert Kwok
Dr. Robert Kwok
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Dr. Zeda Amaya
Pediatrics
2 doctors agree
In brief: Risk is ever-present
As protective as we parents try to be, certain risks are ever-present.
Since we don't have the proverbial crystal ball to determine all risks, prevention is best. Who knows if our children will inadvertently be exposed to infected blood products that can transmit the hep b virus? The vaccine sets up the body's defense before infection occurs.Thankfully the vaccine is proven safe and effective!

In brief: Risk is ever-present
As protective as we parents try to be, certain risks are ever-present.
Since we don't have the proverbial crystal ball to determine all risks, prevention is best. Who knows if our children will inadvertently be exposed to infected blood products that can transmit the hep b virus? The vaccine sets up the body's defense before infection occurs.Thankfully the vaccine is proven safe and effective!
Dr. Zeda Amaya
Dr. Zeda Amaya
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Dr. Marcus Degraw
Pediatrics
2 doctors agree
In brief: Life time risk of 5%
Overall lifetime risk of contracting hepatitis b is approaching 5% and higher for some people and in some locations.
In addition, shots work far better in younger people and even better in infants, thus the majority of shots being given at this age bracket. Even teenaged patients are ancient when it comes to immunologic response to vaccines and this is the main reason to immunize at a young age.

In brief: Life time risk of 5%
Overall lifetime risk of contracting hepatitis b is approaching 5% and higher for some people and in some locations.
In addition, shots work far better in younger people and even better in infants, thus the majority of shots being given at this age bracket. Even teenaged patients are ancient when it comes to immunologic response to vaccines and this is the main reason to immunize at a young age.
Dr. Marcus Degraw
Dr. Marcus Degraw
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Dr. Scott Tomaine
Pediatrics
2 doctors agree
In brief: Dangerous disease
Newborns are at risk of hepatits b if the mom is infected and doesn't know it.
Some people are silent carriers of this disease. I recommend it at birth even if mom tests negative because it is a safe, effective vaccine against a very bad disease, which causes liver cancer and cirrhosis. It is a series of three shots, and it is required for school attendance.

In brief: Dangerous disease
Newborns are at risk of hepatits b if the mom is infected and doesn't know it.
Some people are silent carriers of this disease. I recommend it at birth even if mom tests negative because it is a safe, effective vaccine against a very bad disease, which causes liver cancer and cirrhosis. It is a series of three shots, and it is required for school attendance.
Dr. Scott Tomaine
Dr. Scott Tomaine
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1 doctor agrees
In brief: Hep B vaccine was...
...Originally tested in countries where most people were infected at birth, then went on to infect their own children at their birth, and died young of liver cancer.
The vaccine worked extremely well and safely. Once we knew this, there seemed to be no reason to wait longer.

In brief: Hep B vaccine was...
...Originally tested in countries where most people were infected at birth, then went on to infect their own children at their birth, and died young of liver cancer.
The vaccine worked extremely well and safely. Once we knew this, there seemed to be no reason to wait longer.
Dr. Anatoly Belilovsky
Dr. Anatoly Belilovsky
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Dr. Cornelia Franz
Pediatrics
In brief: He doesn't
While hepatitis is a serious disease, the hepatitis vaccine, in my opinion, is not necessary in children with no risk factors.
If mom had prenatal care and is hepatitis negative, and the baby will not be in a high risk environment, I do not see the need to give it right away. It can be done later if necessary. You may want to do more research on your own.

In brief: He doesn't
While hepatitis is a serious disease, the hepatitis vaccine, in my opinion, is not necessary in children with no risk factors.
If mom had prenatal care and is hepatitis negative, and the baby will not be in a high risk environment, I do not see the need to give it right away. It can be done later if necessary. You may want to do more research on your own.
Dr. Cornelia Franz
Dr. Cornelia Franz
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