Why all Children are Supposed to Get the Hepatitis B Vaccine at Birth
In the prescribing information for the Hepatitis B vaccine, Merck says:
Hepatitis B is endemic throughout the world and is a serious medical problem in population groups at increased risk. Because vaccination limited to high-risk individuals has failed to substantially lower the overall incidence of hepatitis B infection, both the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and the Committee on Infectious Diseases of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) have also endorsed universal infant immunization as part of a comprehensive strategy for the control of hepatitis B infection.
So, all of our infants are supposed to get this vaccine a few times, regardless of their risks of getting Hepatitis B because when vaccinations were limited to high-risk individuals, the program was unsuccessful. Got it. One for all and all for some. Even still, I have to ask: Must it really be started when a baby is one day old?!?!
Has the Vaccine Helped us as a Nation? Comparing Risks and Benefits
Globally, at least 500,000 people who have been chronically infected with hepatitis B die annually from cirrhosis or liver cancer which is sometimes caused by the Hepatitis B virus. (source) I suppose that is is actually a lot of people. Keep in mind though, that is GLOBALLY and from EVERY AGE GROUP. There are 6,840,507,000 people in the world. That means that annually, 0.0007 PERCENT of our population die from cirrhosis of the liver or liver cancer.
Twice as many people die each year globally because they kill THEMSELVES deliberately by committing suicide. Yet, where is the massive outpouring of funds to support suicide education that should essentially be twice as massive as the funds dedicated to the Hepatitis B vaccine programs? This is not to make light of Hepatitis B, merely to put it into perspective. When my daughter was vaccinated, I basically thought she had a good chance of getting this disease at any point as an infant without her vaccination.
Our medical community though says that the benefits of a mandated vaccination program for Hepatitis B vaccination at birth is imperative and has caused Hepatitis B rates to significantly decline in the last two decades. Look at this chart from the CDC for example:
That’s a pretty serious declines isn’t it? It would seem as though it’s safe to say that the vaccination program really has made a difference. Right?
Well, hold on one second. Hepatitis C rates are also monitored by the CDC. There is no vaccine available at this time for Hepatitis C, yet check out the decline in Hepatitis C over the same time period:
And yet we are urged to accept that the reason for the decline of Hepatitis B was simply because of the vaccination program. Given that both kind of Hepatitis showed nearly similar decline rates over the same period of time, doesn’t it seem far more likely that the decline was due to educational programs aimed at reducing risky behavior that arose from the HIV epidemic?
Even if it is a coincidence and this vaccine program actually deserved all the credit, I’ll ask again: Must it really be started when a baby is one day old?!?!
Clinical Trials Verses Marketed Experience
Clinical trials are one way to judge side effects that could come from a vaccine, but we also need to review real life adverse events. After only a few years of this program over a decade ago, in a statement to the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee, as executive director of AAPS, Jane Orient, M.D. wrote:
For most children, the risk of a serious vaccine reaction may be 100 times greater than the risk of hepatitis B. Overall, the incidence of hepatitis B in the U.S. is currently about 4 per 100,000. The risk for most young children is far less; hepatitis B is heavily concentrated in groups at high risk due to occupation, sexual promiscuity, or drug abuse. VAERS contains 25,000 reports related to hepatitis B vaccine, about one-third of which were serious enough to lead to an emergency room visit, hospitalization, or death. It is often assumed that only 10% of reactions are reported. (This committee has heard testimony about persons being actively discouraged from reporting, even if they are aware of the reporting system.) Thus, if there have been some 80,000 serious adverse reactions associated with 20 million doses of vaccine, the risk is about 4 in 1000.
According to Merck, the following rare adverse reactions have been reported following the administration of the Hepatitis Vaccine:
- Elevation of liver enzymes; constipation
- Guillain-Barré Syndrome
- Multiple Sclerosis; exacerbation of multiple sclerosis
- Myelitis including transverse myelitis
- Febrile seizures
- Peripheral neuropathy including Bell’s Palsy
- Herpes Zoster
- Muscle weakness
- Stevens-Johnson Syndrome
- Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)
- Optic neuritis
- Visual disturbances
Now, Merck explains that whether the vaccine caused these issues in completely unknown. Meanwhile, the medical community vigorously tries to disprove a Harvard University study that showed an increased risk of Multiple Sclerosis with the use of the Hepatitis B vaccine as well as a study implicating this vaccine in significantly increased rates of many other autoimmune diseases, including many listed above and numerous other studies publicly available that support these findings too.
Even if these events aren’t always solely attributed to the series of Hepatitis B vaccinations, I’ll ask again: Must it really be started when a baby is one day old?!?!
Actual Warnings in Merck’s Own Words
In the prescribing information, it is warned:
- Use caution when vaccinating latex-sensitive individuals since the vial stopper and the syringe plunger stopper and tip cap contain dry natural latex rubber that may cause allergic reactions.
- Any serious active infection including febrile illness is reason for delaying use of the vaccine except when in the opinion of the physician, withholding the vaccine entails a greater risk.
A “febrile illness” is one that is accompanied by a fever. Many parents associate the term febrile with “febrile seizures” and they don’t quite understand that the word febrile in that case describes the cause of the seizure. So, children with a fever, should not get this vaccination unless the pediatrician feels waiting would entail a greater risk to the child than not waiting.
I’m not in a position to say that we do not need this vaccine. I’m not a doctor. It is my constitutional right, however, simply ask, must the Hepatitis B vaccine be given at one day old?!