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Better Hepatitis A Vaccine Coverage Is Needed For Teens

1/23/2012

Adolescents in the U.S. were not adequately immunized against Hepatitis A in 2009, leaving a large population vulnerable to serious illnesses caused by Hepatitis A infection. 

According to a study in the February 2012 issue of Pediatrics (published online Jan. 23), data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from that year show that national one-dose Hepatitis A vaccination coverage among adolescents was 42 percent, and of that group, 70 percent completed the two-dose series. States with a vaccination requirement had the highest coverage rates, and adolescents whose health care providers recommended the vaccine were more likely to have received it. Infection with the Hepatitis A virus can lead to serious and prolonged illness, particularly in older children, teens, and adults. Although younger children often are without symptoms, they can transmit the virus if they become infected. One dose of Hepatitis A vaccine leads to protective levels of antibodies in more than 97 percent of infants, and the second dose is believed to provide long-lasting immunity.

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The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org.