Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a potentially life-threatening liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus. It is a major global health problem and the most serious type of viral hepatitis . It can cause chronic liver disease, chronic infection and puts people at high risk of death from cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer.

A vaccine against hepatitis B has been available since 1982. Hepatitis B vaccine is 95% effective in preventing infection and its chronic consequences, and was the first vaccine against a major human cancer.

As of July 2011, 179 Member States vaccinate infants against hepatitis B as part of their vaccination schedules – a major increase compared with 31 countries in 1992, the year that the World Health Assembly passed a resolution to recommend global vaccination against hepatitis B.

WHO position papers

Last updated: 10 July 2013

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