Hepatitis B vaccine for Dutch babies: health council

1st April 2009, Comments 0 comments

Vaccinating babies against Hepatitis B will halve the number of infections, says the Dutch Health Council.

THE NETHERLANDS – The Dutch Health Council is recommending Hepatitis B vaccination for all infants and babies.

Hepatitis B is an infectious disease which can lead to liver diseases and cancer. The virus is contracted through sexual contact and blood. Hepatitis B is usually transmitted to the baby during delivery, as the baby is exposed to the mother’s blood in the birth canal.

The recommendation proposal to Health Minister Ab Klink includes administering all babies a hepatitis B vaccine along with the other standard vaccinations, and a catch-up vaccination programme for 12-year-olds.

In the Netherlands, as the percentage of people with Hepatitis B remains small, only high-risk groups such as drug users and prostitues are vaccinated at present.

However, the Health Council said more should be done to keep the infection percentages low. If all babies received a hepatitis jab, it would halve the number of infections.

According to the council, a comprehensive vaccination programme would save 1,500 lives over the next 50 years.

Radio Netherlands / Expatica

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