Hepatitis A vaccination can benefit children with chronic liver disease, according to a study reported in the September issue of the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition.
Hepatitis in children with chronic liver disease can progress rapidly and result in death.
The study involved 89 children without hepatitis A between the ages of one and 16 years old, including 34 children with chronic liver disease and 55 healthy children who served as a control group.
Each of the children received two doses of Havrix® vaccine at the beginning and end of a six-month time period. Havrix is a noninfectious hepatitis A vaccine made by GlaxoSmithKline.
The researchers measured the effectiveness of the vaccine by seroconversion, which involves the development of detectable antibodies in the blood.
Seroconversion rates at four weeks after the first dose of the vaccine were 76 percent in the patient group and and 94 percent in the control group. A month after receiving their second dose of the vaccine, the children's seroconversion rates were 97 percent in the patient group and 100 in control group.
The researchers noted that the vaccine was well tolerated with no significant adverse events observed. Local injection-site symptoms were the most common reactions reported in both groups.
"The overall seroconversion rates were not different. Hepatitis A virus vaccine was safe, well-tolerated, and immunogenic in children with chronic liver disease," concluded the researchers.
Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition 2003; 37(3):258-261