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Hepatitis B Immunization Strategies: Expanding the Target

William Schaffner, MD; Pierce Gardner, MD; and Peter A. Gross, MD
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Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN 37232-2637. School of Medicine, State University of New York at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, NY 11794. Hackensack Medical Center, Hackensack, NJ 07601. New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ 07103. Requests for Reprints: William Schaffner, MD, Department of Preventive Medicine, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN 37232-2637.

Copyright ©2004 by the American College of Physicians

Ann Intern Med. 1993;118(4):308-309. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-118-4-199302150-00011
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Excellent vaccines against hepatitis B infection have been available for a decade but, despite this, the incidence of hepatitis B has increased by 37%.A study by Bloom and colleagues in this issue of the Annals finds that the use of hepatitis B vaccine is cost-effective. Consequently, they support more comprehensive strategies of vaccine delivery. Universal immunization of infants has recently become standard practice. Their recommendation that all 10-year-olds should be immunized as well is sound. However, the immunization of infants and pre-teens will not have a substantial effect on the occurrence of hepatitis B for more than a decade. Therefore, internists must continue to immunize adults in the traditional targeted risk groups, especially sexually active young adults.

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