Few studies have examined the long term persistence of antibody after hepatitis B immunization beginning at birth and the response to a subsequent challenge with a booster dose of vaccine.Methods.
Two groups of children received hepatitis B vaccine on a schedule of birth and 1 and 6 months of age. Group 1 received recombinant vaccine and a booster dose at 5 years of age. Group 2 received plasma-derived vaccine and a booster dose at 9 years of age. Group 1 children were tested for antibody after the primary vaccine series. All children were tested for antibody before administration of the booster dose and at 2 and 4 weeks and 1 year after the booster. In addition all children were tested for markers of hepatitis B virus infection.Results.
Antibody testing conducted after the primary series for children in Group 1 (n = 70) showed that 90% had protective antibody concentrations at 13 months of age, and testing before the booster dose showed that 41% had protective antibody concentrations. All children with protective antibody concentrations after the primary series had an anamnestic antibody response to the booster dose. In Group 2 (n = 41) 39% of children had protective antibody concentrations before the booster dose, and 93% had an anamnestic antibody response to the booster dose. One year after the booster dose there were 26-fold and 11-fold declines in antibody concentration in Groups 1 and 2, respectively.Conclusions.
A primary vaccination series with either plasma-derived or recombinant hepatitis B vaccine affords long term protection for children when vaccinated beginning soon after birth.