Immunizations

Hepatitis A & B Vaccines

Parents of kids living with the hepatitis B virus (HBV) would do anything, or give anything, to turn back the clock and get their kids vaccinated.

Many of the children PKIDs works with are chronically infected with HBV. Because of this, we have first-hand knowledge of what it's like to live with this vaccine-preventable disease. The misery a parent feels when they find out it's preventable is indescribable.

HBV is not an obvious disease. You don't break out in spots or keel over the breakfast table when infected. It's generally detected when routine blood work shows something is a bit off.

Anyone can be infected and not know it, and inadvertently infect others. If a woman is HBV+ and she gives birth, she will likely infect her baby. That baby then has a 90 percent chance of becoming chronically infected. Ninety percent! The woman may be newly infected herself and the disease may not yet be detectable through routine blood work, so no one would know they need to take extra measures to protect the newborn from infection.

HBV is also a sexually transmitted disease. Under certain circumstances, it can even be transmitted through deep kissing. Given the safety and reliability of the vaccine, there is no reason not to stop this disease from taking up permanent residence in your children.

Many states require HBV immunization before a child can attend public school. We urge you to protect your kids from this disease, whether they are an hour old or an hour and 30 years old.

Some parents don't understand how their small children—kids under five —can be at risk for this disease. We had a parent whose child is HBV+ share a story which might explain how easily a young child could be at risk. Her daughter, along with millions of other kids, attends a preschool. Her daughter was bitten by another child who wanted the toy the HBV+ girl was holding.

The biter's saliva can enter the HBV+ child's bloodstream, bringing with it possible infection of some sort. The blood of the HBV+ child who was bitten can enter the biter's mouth, sending the virus through the gums or broken skin in the biter's mouth, and possibly infecting the biter.

One of the many reasons kids with diseases like HIV/AIDS, HBV, or HCV (hepatitis C) aren't banned from public school is because we can't know who is and is not infected. Testing doesn't work because Little Janey might not be infected when the test is taken, but could acquire an infection a day or a year later. To be safe, you'd have to test all the kids every day!

Hepatitis A is not a chronic condition, but it will do a lot of harm if your child is living with a chronic liver disease, or if his/her immune system is suppressed. We strongly recommend that your child be vaccinated under these conditions. Check with your family physician to determine when to vaccinate your child against hepatitis A and B.

 

Important disclaimer: The information on pkids.org is for educational purposes only and should not be considered to be medical advice. It is not meant to replace the advice of the physician who cares for your child. All medical advice and information should be considered to be incomplete without a physical exam, which is not possible without a visit to your doctor.


Immunizations stop
disease from spreading.

Check with your family
doctor to see if you could benefit.