The Vaccination Schedule

Hepatitis B Vaccine

Hepatitis B vaccine is scheduled to be given to babies of Hepatitis B carrier mothers within 24 hours of birth, and to all babies at 6 weeks, and 3 and 5 months of age in the combination vaccine Infanrix-Hexa. It is also recommended for health care workers and other professions.

Nearly all cases of hepatitis B occur in high risk groups which include intravenous drug users, promiscuous homosexuals and prostitutes. Peak incidence is at 20-24 years of age. As these groups are difficult to reach with vaccination programs the decision was made to vaccinate babies, claiming they would develop long term protective antibody levels, but studies show that they are not maintained–

  •  “Teenagers vaccinated in infancy have low concentrations of antibody to hepatitis B surface antigen” and “are at increased risk of hepatitis B infection in the late teens78
  •  Low risk children vaccinated from birth were tested for hepatitis B antibodies and in most they had disappeared by five years of age. None tested after 7 years had what was considered to be protective levels.79

The product information for Hepatitis B vaccine lists local reactions at the injection site and general reactions such as –

  • anaphylactic reaction
  • vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain
  • abnormal liver function tests
  • upper respiratory infection, cough
  • sweating, chills, vertigo, neck stiffness
  • paralysis, Guillain-Barre Syndrome (an acute, progressive paralysis)
  • optic neuritis (inflammation of the optic nerve)
  • encephalitis (inflammation of the brain)
  • lupus (chronic skin disease) and
  •  rheumatoid arthritis.

Hepatitis B vaccine has also been associated with diabetes in children80 and alopecia (hair loss).81 It has been suggested that chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) “may be an
important adverse reaction (to Hepatitis B vaccine) in susceptible individuals.82

One study concluded that “immunisation with the recombinant hepatitis B vaccine is associated with an increased risk (three-fold) of Multiple Sclerosis”.83

The birth dose of Hepatitis B vaccine was withdrawn in America in 1999 amid concerns about the additional mercury exposure it gave to infants. Vaccines were replaced with vaccines with little or no mercury (though formulated with aluminium) but American Physicians are still reluctant to administer the birth dose.84

The universal vaccination of infants with Hepatitis B vaccine has raised some alarming concerns –

  • A 1999 study concluded that “The increase in the number of cases of unexplained neonatal fever seems to be associated with the introduction of routine hepatitis B vaccination on the first day of life” (note the use of this vaccine at birth is not routine in New Zealand).85
  • Midwives have found that the birth dose of vaccine can interfere with successfully establishing breastfeeding as a result of common side-effects such as irritability, decreased appetite, fever, pain and persistent crying.86
  • In America adverse reactions to Hepatitis B vaccine (including deaths), outnumbered cases of Hepatitis B in children by 14 to 1 and this lead to congressional hearings in 1999 to investigate its safety.
  • Managers from GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi Pasteur are being investigated for failing to fully disclose side effects from Hepatitis B vaccine. Thirty plaintiffs, including the families of five people who died after the vaccination, have launched a civil action in France.87

78 Whittle et l, BMJ 14 Sept 2002;325-569
79 Kenneth M Peterson MD et al, Paediatr Infect Dis J 2004;23(7):605-655
80 Classen, J. B., Childhood immunisation and diabetes mellitus, NZ Med J 1996, May24;109(1022):195
81 Wise R.P. et al, Hair loss after routine immunisations, JAMA 1997, October
8;278(14):1176-8
82 Shepherd, C., Hepatitis B vaccination and the chronic fatigue syndrome, Letter to BMJ, September 1996
83 Hernan et al, Neurology 2004;63:838-842
84 Impact of the 1999 AAP/USPHS Joint Statement, MMWR February 16,2001;50(6):94-97
85 Linder N., et al, Unexplained fever in neonates may be associated with hepatitis B vaccine,
Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed, Nov1999; 81: F206-207
86 Sandra Eales, Hep B Vaccination at birth – just another barrier to breast feeding, Australian Midwifery, December 2003; 16(4): 4&5
87 Vaccine Companies Investigated for Manslaughter, Reuters 1/2/