Primary prevention of hepatitis B virus infection

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  • Universal vaccination programs for hepatitis B have had a profound impact on reducing the incidence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection.
  • All infants should receive hepatitis B vaccination, with the first dose given at birth in the first 24 hours.
  • Infants born to mothers positive for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) should receive both hepatitis B immunoglobulin and the first dose of hepatitis B vaccine, administered concomitantly, optimally within 4 hours of birth.
  • For HBsAg-positive women with high viral loads (> 200,000 IU/mL), consider use of antiviral therapy to further reduce the risk of mother-to-child transmission.
  • It is recommended that adolescents not vaccinated in childhood receive hepatitis B vaccines.
  • Individuals at risk of exposure should be vaccinated.
  • The Australian Immunisation handbook (updated 2021) contains current recommendations and is an important resource for clinicians

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