The AP reports the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices “recommended that all U.S. adults younger than 60 be vaccinated against hepatitis B, because progress against the liver-damaging disease has stalled.” This recommendation “means that tens of millions of U.S. adults – mostly between the ages of 30 and 59 – are advised to get shots.” Vaccinations for hepatitis B “became standard for children in 1991, meaning most adults younger that 30 already are protected.”
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted unanimously to approve the recommendation; however, the CDC’s director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, will have to sign off on it before it becomes public policy.
Hepatitis B is a serious liver disease caused by the Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) that affects about 2.4 million Americans. The CDC estimates that approximately 60 million Americans were born before universal infant vaccination in the 1990’s and may not be protected.
Though people with HBV may not feel sick, left untreated, about 1 in 4 will eventually die from HBV-related health problems, including cirrhosis or liver cancer. Symptoms of liver cancer are uncommon in the early stages. Later, symptoms may include weight loss, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and yellowed skin and eyes.
Although there is no cure for HBV, it can be prevented by vaccination. The HBV vaccine is highly effective and can prevent babies, children, and adults from getting infected.
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