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Newborn Hepatitis B

newborn hep b

Todays parents are flooded with information surrounding vaccines. Everyone has heard the horror stories that vaccines cause autism or other problems. This stories persist despite overwhelming medical evidence to the contrary. Vaccines are medications and all medications have risks and benefits. While nothing in life is 100% safe, I believe vaccines as a whole to be safe.

I could not morally offer vaccines if I felt the benefits did not significantly outweigh the risks. All of my children are fully vaccinated and I do not offer vaccines that my own children have not already had. The decision to vaccinate is part personal and part public health.

Your newborn is currently immunosuppressed and will rely on the community’s immunity for protection. If enough individuals choose not to vaccinate then eventually newborns and other immunosuppressed people will needlessly be exposed to potentially lethal diseases.

You are going to be asked during your hospital stay to sign consent for your newborn to get their first hepatitis B immunization. When I was in medical school Hepatitis B was the number one cause of liver disease and liver cancer. Now, thanks to widespread use of a vaccine that was developed in 1982 its incidence has markedly declined in the United States. Side effects are rare and include local reaction and soreness.

Hepatitis B is spread via blood to blood contact (like sexual intercourse, birth or a needle stick). I suspect that most new mothers reading this have had prenatal care and know that they are hepatitis B negative. Even when mothers are negative there is still a small risk of acquiring hepatitis B infection.

In conclusion, I would recommend you give your newborn the hepatitis B vaccine to protect them against this devastating disease.


Hep B at birth

I just don't understand why a newborn needs this vaccine so early.  Why not start it like all the others at 2 months unless the mother is positive. What is the actual likelihood of a baby getting this disease in the first 2 months of life? (... more on Hep B vaccine at birth)

Side Effects after second Hep B

My 4 week old son had his second Hep B shot yesterday.  He feels cool and clammy today.  Is this normal? The hepatitis B vaccine is usually a well tolerated vaccine. Your son’s reaction (... more on Side Effects after second Hep B)


Written November 2010 by
Dr. Gordon, Windermere Pediatrician






gregorygordonmd.com is intended to help parents understand the needs and behaviors of children. The information presented in the site is the opinion of Gregory Gordon, M.D.and does not reflect the opinion of his partners. This website is owned exclusively by Doctors insights LLC. The advice in this site does not apply to all children. Always consult your healthcare provider for your individual needs.

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