News from Hepatitis Week of Sept. 28, 2003 / Vol. 3 No. 39
Study: Healthy People Don't Need Hepatitis A Booster Shots

People with healthy immune systems may not need a hepatitis A booster shot, according to a study reported in the September 27 issue of the Lancet.

No worldwide consensus currently exists on how long the vaccine protects against hepatitis A or whether patients who have been vaccinated subsequently need booster shots.

However, a team of British researchers found that the initial vaccination for hepatitis A can protect against the disease for up to 25 years.

The researchers reviewed the long-term effectiveness of hepatitis A vaccine in different groups of people and concluded that no evidence exists to support hepatitis A booster shots after a full primary vaccination course in a healthy individual.

"Evidence is accumulating to show that hepatitis A vaccine elicits immune memory that persists even after loss of detectable antibody," said lead researcher Jangu Banatvala a virology professor at Guy's, King's & St Thomas' School of Medicine in London. "We recommend that reliance be placed on immunological memory rather than booster doses to protect against symptomatic infection."

Other sources: The Lancet