Evidence that immunization of infants with hepatitis B vaccine is effective was reported at the recent annual meeting of the American Gastroenterological Association in Washington, DC, by Cladd Stevens, MD, of the New York Blood Center, New York City. Stevens has studied more than 400 children in Eastern Transvaal, a region where infection with hepatitis B virus (HBV) is endemic.
In Stevens' study, the children were divided into three approximately equal groups and given hepatitis B vaccine according to three different protocols. The first group received the first of three standard 10-μg childhood doses at 6 months of age; a second group began the series at 3 months of age; and the third group within one week of birth. After receiving three doses of the vaccine, more than 90% of the children responded with substantial amounts of hepatitis B antibody.
These results allay the concern that infants may not respond