Implications of Birth-Dose Vaccination against Hepatitis B Virus in Southeast Asia
AuthorFazle Akbar, Sheikh Mohammad
Al Mahtab, Mamun
Hossain, Shaikh A. Shahed
Khan, Md. Sakirul Islam
MetadataShow full item record
CitationAkbar, S. M. F., Al Mahtab, M., Begum, F., Hossain, S. A. S., Sarker, S., Shrestha, A., . . . Hiasa, Y. (2021). Implications of birth-dose vaccination against hepatitis B virus in Southeast Asia. Vaccines, 9(4) doi:10.3390/vaccines9040374
The World Health Organization (WHO) South-East Asia Regional Office (SEARO) covers 11 countries with a combined population of about 2 billion people, making it the most populous of the six WHO regions. In 1992, the WHO advocated including the hepatitis B vaccine in the Expanded Program of Immunization (EPI) and vaccinating all infants and children three times within 1 year of birth (HepB3). Recently, the WHO advocate birth-dose hepatitis B vaccination (HepB-BD) as soon as possible after birth, preferably within 24 hours. In 2016, the SEARO endorsed a regional hepatitis B control goal with a target of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) seroprevalence of ≤1% among children aged ≥5 years by 2020. Of the 11 SEARO countries, four achieved this target on schedule. Out of these four countries, two countries (Bangladesh and Nepal) have not adopted HepB-BD in EPI program. On the other hand, the coverage of HepB3 is not satisfactory in some SEARO countries, including India which adopted HepB-BD but could not achieve the overall target of SEARO. Thus, it is a point of debate whether emphasis should be placed on proper implementation of HepB3 or whether a new agenda of HepB-BD should be incorporated in developing countries of SEARO. The article discusses strengthening and expanding the Hepatitis B vaccination program in SEARO countries with an emphasis on HepB and HepB-BD programs.