Hepatitis A Vaccine Guidance Is Updated

July 17, 2007

All children in the US ages 12 to 23 months should receive the hepatitis A vaccine as a two-dose regimen [more].

All children in the US ages 12 to 23 months should receive the hepatitis A vaccine as a two-dose regimen. That’s the latest recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) Committee on Infectious Diseases. This update represents the next step in the implementation of an incremental vaccine immunization strategy established by the AAP in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Pediatrics 120:1;189).

The recommendations go on to say that the hepatitis A vaccine can be “co-administered with other childhood vaccines without decreasing immunogenicity.” It is contraindicated in patients with a history of severe allergic reaction to a previous dose of the vaccine, or one of its components, such as aluminum hydroxide and phenoxyethanol. Since the vaccine is inactivated, no special precautions are necessary for immunocompromised patients as well.

The committee is encouraging states with hepatitis A immunization programs for children ages 2 to 18 years to maintain those programs, and expand them to include children ages 12 to 23 months. In communities without an existing hepatitis A immunization program, “catch-up” immunization of unvaccinated children ages 2 to 18 should be considered, especially if there is an increased incidence or outbreak of the illness among children and teens.