Understanding The Value Of Acne Treatments

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Immunizations, Hepatitis B And Your Newborn

Health & Medical Blog

You aren't planning on taking your precious newborn out and about, so does she still need immunizations? While you have a few months before the U.S. Centers for Disease Control recommends starting a full vaccination schedule, the Hepatitis B immunization is one that many babies get at birth. Understanding the reasons why your doctor is asking to vaccinate your newborn can help you to make an informed decision and keep your little bundle safe and healthy.

What is Hepatitis B?

Hepatitis B is a disease that can cause liver failure, joint pain, kidney problems and blood disorders. According to the Hepatitis B Foundation, it's transmitted through blood and bodily fluids. This means you don't have to worry about your baby getting it just from close contact. That said, there are instances when a newborn is at risk. Luckily, the vaccine is an effective way to minimize infection in newborns.

Why Immunize a Newborn?

There are three main reasons why parents choose to immunize their newborns against Hepatitis B, notes the Immunization Action Coalition. These include:

  • When the mother has tested positive for the disease while she is pregnant.
  • If there are concerns about transmission from a household member who has the disease. Your baby can't get Hepatitis B from an infected family member holding her or simply from living in the same space. Even though only bodily fluids transmit the illness, some parents feel more comfortable reducing any risk.
  • Protecting the baby against possible medical error.

How Effective Is the Immunization?

The Immunization Action Coalition states that the Hepatitis B vaccine is anywhere from 70 to 95 percent effective at stopping the spread of the disease from an infected mother to her newborn. Whether you're looking to prevent a possible mother to child infection or just want to keep your baby safe, getting the vaccine offers more protection than nothing.

How Long after Birth Is the Vaccine given?

This depends on the situation. If the mother has the disease, the newborn is typically vaccinated within 12 hours of birth, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Healthy babies who have healthy mothers can get the immunization at any point before they leave the hospital. Two boosters follow the initial vaccination. For babies with mothers who have the disease, the second Hepatitis B shot is given between 1- and 2-months-old, with the third at 6-months. If the mother doesn't have it, the second shot is given between 1- and 2-months-old also. The third vaccination is given anytime between 6- and 18-months.

Simply said, vaccines were created to stop the spread of diseases. Whether you have Hepatitis B or not, getting your newborn immunized is one step in keeping her healthy. Educating yourself about the why's and how's behind vaccine use, along with asking your doctor for expert advice, can help you to come to the decision that best benefits your baby. For more information, contact a doctor's office such as The Pediatric Center.


9 January 2015