NINE YEARS after an effective vaccine against hepatitis B became available, and after trying numerous strategies for controlling the disease, an advisory committee of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Atlanta, Ga, has recommended adding hepatitis B to the pediatric immunization schedule.
Thus, in time, hepatitis B should join the current standard pediatric vaccines that are used against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, rubella, rubeola, mumps, and poliomyelitis. This addition of hepatitis B immunization has the blessing of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Still, "since hepatitis B tends to occur among adults, it may take 15 to 20 years after its implementation before we see the effects of this policy," says Harold S. Margolis, MD, chief of the CDC's hepatitis branch. But, says Saul Krugman, MD, professor of pediatrics, New York (NY) University School of Medicine, when it is implemented, it will result in the ultimate control of hepatitis B.