Get Hepatitis B Vaccinations

You’re probably not thinking about sexually transmitted diseases and intravenous drug abuse when your child is getting vaccinated, but the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says you should be.

Lynda Brady, M.D., is a pediatrician at the University of Chicago in Ill. “Hepatitis B occurs much more often in high-risk groups than HIV does.”

Acting on advice from the AAP and the American Liver Foundation, many states now require that children be vaccinated for hepatitis B — a disease that spreads virtually the same way as the AIDS virus.

“It’s not that we’re trying to say your child will be an I-V drug abuser or will have multiple sexual partners,” says Dr. Brady. “The reason we do it in childhood is because that’s the time we give vaccines.”

Dr. Lynda Brady of the University of Chicago says in countries like China, where childhood hepatitis B immunizations are routine, cases have dropped dramatically. The biggest problem in the U.S. has been parental education.

A pilot program by the San Francisco Department of Public Health showed parents were willing once they had the facts. Parent James Woods says, “This is a recommendation from the doctors that we trust. We looked at the information, and it seemed safe.”

New York state requires the vaccine for all children — so do public schools in Chicago. Dr. Brady says the American Academy of Pediatrics believes that with national immunization, hepatitis B could be wiped out as successfully as diseases such as smallpox and polio.

It’s not just younger kids getting hepatitis B vaccinations. The American Liver Foundation (ALF) recommends the shots for adolescents as well. The ALF says the vaccine should be required for anyone in the military, the medical profession, and anyone who could be exposed to someone carrying the virus. Hepatitis B carriers can pass the disease on for years without ever exhibiting symptoms.

Source: Ivanhoe Newswire

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