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December 14, 1994

`Catch-up' Hepatitis Protection for Adolescents

JAMA. 1994;272(22):1730. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03520220024021

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YOUNG ADOLESCENTS are urged to get immunized against hepatitis B. At its October meeting at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, Ga, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices unanimously voted to recommend that children who had not been vaccinated against hepatitis B should be immunized by the time they reach age 11 to 12 years.

The committee's recommendation is part of a general statement on adolescent immunization that is in the drafting stage and probably will be issued early next year.

Hepatitis B vaccine has been available since 1982, yet both acute and chronic hepatitis B infection remain a public health problem (MMWR. 1994; 43:605-608). Vaccination of adolescents has been part of the considered strategy to prevent disease transmission, but reaching this age group has been difficult because they do not routinely attend health care clinics or go to see physicians.

"The concept is catch-up immunization. We

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