Hepatitis B vaccination and leukaemia
In June 2002,1 GACVS concluded that the suggestion of an association between hepatitis B vaccination at birth with thiomersal-containing vaccines and acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (based on an abstract presented at the April 2002 meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research) was not convincing and that the risk (if one exists at all) should be regarded as tentative at best and weighed against the proven benefits of hepatitis B immunization. The Committee resolved at the time that the matter should be kept under review and further investigated.
Four studies (in France, Germany (two case-control studies) and New Zealand) were identified that have considered the effect of immunization (and specifically of hepatitis B vaccination) on childhood leukaemia. None has supported the suggestion that there may be an increased risk of leukaemia following hepatitis B vaccination or any other routine infant vaccination. Additional research is currently being conducted by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a retrospective review of data from the Vaccine Safety Datalink is ongoing. The Committee will continue to monitor the issue. On the basis of current evidence, GACVS does not recommend a change in current vaccination practices with hepatitis B vaccine.
- See No. 50, 2002, p. 432.