Pregnant? Considering the Hep B Vaccine?

If you are considering the Hepatitis B vaccine during pregnancy because your OB suggested it to you, please consider the following so that you can make a more informed decision.

If you tried to look up “Hepatitis vaccine during pregnancy,”  one of the top results would be the Immunization Action Coalition’s webpage about the Hepatitis Vaccine.  The Immunization Action Committee is the nonprofit organization with efforts to “increase immunization rates and prevent disease by creating and distributing educational materials for health professionals and the public that enhance the delivery of safe and effective immunization services.” For over a decade, the CDC has teamed up with and provided financial support to the Immunization Action Committee for what they refer to as “the purpose of educating health professionals about U.S. vaccine recommendations.”

So, if you are considering getting a hepatitis B vaccine during pregnancy, you might make your choice just based on the IAC’s suggestion.

On their page about the Hepatitis B vaccine, they say that the vaccine is safe to use during pregnancy.  There was no hesitation, the answer they gave was clear. While it states that the decision is based on limited data, the answer was, “Yes.”   It is, according to the IAC, safe to be vaccinated against Hepatitis B during pregnancy. It appears to the average reader that because of the “noninfectious HBsAg,” there is no real risk to the baby. See:

Hep B vaccine safe for pregnant women

Why would you question such an answer?

According to the two leading hepatitis vaccine manufacturers’ prescribing information for Hepatitis B vaccines, safety absolutely is not assured.

In fact, not only has safety not been established during pregnancy, neither has effectiveness.

See here:

HEP B VAX 1
http://us.gsk.com/products/assets/us_engerixb.pdf

 

http://www.merck.com/product/usa/pi_circulars/r/recombivax_hb/recombivax_pi.pdf
http://www.merck.com/product/usa/pi_circulars/r/recombivax_hb/recombivax_pi.pdf

According to the manufacturer’s own prescribing information on these vaccines they are both “Pregnancy Category C” pharmaceuticals and both state:

Animal reproduction studies have not been conducted with ENGERIX-B. It is also not known whether ENGERIX-B can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman or can affect reproduction capacity. ENGERIX-B should be given to a pregnant woman only if clearly needed.

The risks of stillbirth or miscarriage from this vaccine in comparison to how many people have gotten it, do genuinely seem very low.  I have to question though, in pregnancy, as a mother, is that the only concern?

 

What of other issues? What of the adverse events recorded to VAERS reporting auto-immune diseases following this vaccination? Should the potential link between the hepatitis B vaccine and auto-immune disease be considered when weighing risks verses benefit?

Would you feel comfortable getting vaccinated for Hepatitis B during pregnancy knowing its safety and efficacy hasn’t been tested? Or that animal reproduction tests hadn’t been conducted either? Hypothetically, if you answered, “No,” would it change your mind if you were in one of the increased risks groups? Why or why not?

 

Further considerations not likely to be mentioned to you:

Rheumatic disorders developed after hepatitis B vaccination

VRAN: Summary Of Report Of Hepatitis-B Vaccine

 

Recombinant hepatitis B vaccine and the risk of multiple sclerosis: a prospective study.

A case-control study of serious autoimmune adverse events following hepatitis B immunization.

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *