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October 18, 1995

The Public's Health UnprotectedReversing a Decade of Underutilization of Hepatitis B Vaccine

JAMA. 1995;274(15):1242-1243. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03530150066036

A series of studies published between 1980 and 1985 reported that hepatitis B vaccine effectively prevented hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection of adults,1,2 children,3 and infants.4 Recognizing that these discoveries set the stage for control of HBV infection and its associated disease, I, from my position at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), published an editorial in 1985 suggesting worldwide application of this vaccine to eliminate both the acute and chronic diseases associated with HBV infection.5 But progress toward this end was slow, and 4 years later, in another attempt to stimulate international attention, Harold Margolis, MD, (then and now Chief of the Hepatitis Branch at CDC) and I wrote another plaintive Editorial in JAMA.6

See also pp 1201 and 1209.

With reports of long-term vaccine protection,7,8 interest in broader application of hepatitis B vaccine was rekindled, and in late 1991 routine

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