Infantrix Hexa is a 6-in-1 vaccine that is new to the UK but previously used in other countries. It is against Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, hib and Hepatitis B.
Until autumn 2016, UK children did not receive hepatitis B vaccination.
What is Hepatitis B?
Hepatitis B is a virus that causes inflammation of the liver. Symptoms don’t always occur but when they do, the person may experience:
- Flu-like symptoms
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal pain
The virus lasts around 4-12 weeks, after which the person usually recovers and gains life-long immunity. The NHS says:
“Many people infected in adulthood won’t experience any symptoms and will fight off the infection without realising they had it.
“The vast majority of people infected with hepatitis B in adulthood are able to fight off the virus and fully recover within one to three months. Most will then be immune to the infection for life.”
Occasionally, a chronic form of hepatitis lasting six months or more. This is more common in babies, where 90% of untreated cases become chronic. Chronic cases may lead to scarring of the liver or liver cancer. However, the disease is passed via blood and the most common ways are through unprotected sex and dirty needle sharing so babies can only get hepatitis B via the birth process if their mother is hepatitis B positive.
The UK blood donor supply is screened for hepatitis B and all pregnant women in the UK are offered hepatitis B screening prior to delivery so doctors know who the vast majority of infected mothers are. As most mothers don’t have it, the chance of the majority of babies getting it is almost zero.
People at Risk of Hepatitis B
- Babies born to mothers who are Hepatitis B Positive.
- People brought up in a country where the infection is common (it is rare in the UK – only 0.3-0.4% of the population are Hep B positive and only between 0.05-1% of expectant mothers, depending on the area ).
- People who’ve had unprotected sex, multiple sexual partners or gay sex.
- Commercial sex workers.
- People who have ever injected drugs.
Despite the fact that as few as 0.05% of pregnant mums are infected with Hep B, ALL babies will be offered the vaccine and all will be at risk of side-effects, and for the majority of babies will not outweigh the risks.
Sources: NHS Choices, Hepatitis B, accessed 14/01/18, https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/hepatitis-b/
Public Health England, The hexavalent DTaP/IPV/Hib/HepB combination vaccine, https://www.england.nhs.uk/south/wp-content/uploads/sites/6/2017/05/2017-hexavalent-training-slides.pdf
Hepatitis Caused By Injections
The 1957 medical book, ‘AIDS to Public Health’, by the Chief Medical Officer for Sheffield, Llywelyn Roberts, says injections are the cause of hepatitis. He writes:
‘Serum hepatitis – In this case infection passed by the parenteral route; incubation 60 to 160 days with insidious onset. This serious illness usually follow an injection.’ (p.67).