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In May 2016, the World Health Assembly ratified the first ever Global Health Sector Strategy (GHSS) on Viral Hepatitis to eliminate viral hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030. In pursuit of this elimination goal and recognising that hepatitis control through immunisation is an essential foundation of a hepatitis B prevention programme, the World Health Organization set out vaccine coverage targets for both universal and selective childhood immunisation programmes, focusing on preventing mother to child transmission. In August 2017 the UK introduced a hexavalent (DTaP/IPV/Hib/HepB) combination vaccine into the routine childhood immunisation programme, replacing the pentavalent vaccine given to all infants at 8, 12 and 16 weeks. With the addition of the 6th component to protect against hepatitis B the UK finally introduced universal hepatitis B immunisation. Prior to that, the UK had a selective immunisation policy targeting high risk groups for hepatitis B - including infants born to hepatitis B infected mothers. We tell the story of hepatitis B vaccination in the UK, and how we have evolved from selective to a universal infant immunisation programme, the factors considered in hepatitis B vaccine policy decision-making, and the progress towards elimination of viral hepatitis as a public health threat.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Human vaccines & immunotherapeutics
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INFLAMMATION of the LIVER in humans due to infection by VIRUSES. There are several significant types of human viral hepatitis with infection caused by enteric-transmission (HEPATITIS A; HEPATITIS E) or blood transfusion (HEPATITIS B; HEPATITIS C; and HEPATITIS D).
A family of hepatotropic DNA viruses which contains double-stranded DNA genomes and causes hepatitis in humans and animals. There are two genera: AVIHEPADNAVIRUS and ORTHOHEPADNAVIRUS. Hepadnaviruses include HEPATITIS B VIRUS, duck hepatitis B virus (HEPATITIS B VIRUS, DUCK), heron hepatitis B virus, ground squirrel hepatitis virus, and woodchuck hepatitis B virus (HEPATITIS B VIRUS, WOODCHUCK).
A species in the genus HEPATOVIRUS containing one serotype and two strains: HUMAN HEPATITIS A VIRUS and Simian hepatitis A virus causing hepatitis in humans (HEPATITIS A) and primates, respectively.
INFLAMMATION of the LIVER in humans caused by HEPATITIS DELTA VIRUS, a defective RNA virus that can only infect HEPATITIS B patients. For its viral coating, hepatitis delta virus requires the HEPATITIS B SURFACE ANTIGENS produced by these patients. Hepatitis D can occur either concomitantly with (coinfection) or subsequent to (superinfection) hepatitis B infection. Similar to hepatitis B, it is primarily transmitted by parenteral exposure, such as transfusion of contaminated blood or blood products, but can also be transmitted via sexual or intimate personal contact.
INFLAMMATION of the LIVER in humans caused by HEPATITIS C VIRUS, a single-stranded RNA virus. Its incubation period is 30-90 days. Hepatitis C is transmitted primarily by contaminated blood parenterally, and is often associated with transfusion and intravenous drug abuse. However, in a significant number of cases, the source of hepatitis C infection is unknown.