Monday August 6 2018

Hepatitis B immunsation

A health worker displays the different sample

A health worker displays the different samples of Hepatitis B vaccines recently. FILE PHOTO 

By Dr Vincent Karuhanga

Dr I got two immunisations to Hepatitis B with the last one ending in March this year. I wanted to immunise but someone, not a doctor, told me I have to get checked again and re-immunised afresh. Is that so?

Ethan
Hepatitis B is a virus which infects the body and if not treated may destroy the liver leading to liver failure, liver injury (liver cirrhosis) and cancer of the liver.
Hepatitis B, is transmitted person-to-person by blood, semen, or any other body fluid from the infected person gaining access to the body of an uninfected person through broken skin or mucous membranes or through mother to child transmission.
Fortunately, the virus can be prevented by safe sexual practices and immunisation among others.
The standard medical immunisation practice is to give 3 doses, of Hepatitis B vaccine with the second dose, 1 month after the first dose and the third dose, 6 months after the first dose. It is true that in young adults 2 doses may give very good protection but still standard practice is that they should be given 3 doses.
Because the body remembers that it was immunised before (immunologic memory), one need not restart immunisation if he missed a dose but rather should continue where he stopped and complete immunisation.
Since one was checked for the presence of hepatitis B and found negative before starting immunisation there is no need of rechecking before continuation of vaccination unless one is checking for antibody levels to rule out having used fake vaccines prior!

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