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December 11, 1996

Success of Mass Vaccination of Infants Against Hepatitis B

Author Affiliations

Department of Health Services Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Maryville, Tenn
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Atlanta, Ga

JAMA. 1996;276(22):1802-1803. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03540220026021

To the Editor.  —Dr Chen and colleagues1 report that a program of routine hepatitis B vaccination has made a large impact on the seroprevalence of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and hepatitis B core antibody (anti-HBc) among a selected group of children attending school and clinics on Taiwan. We performed a similar survey over the same time period on population-based samples of 3- to 4-year-old children on Saipan in the Northern Mariana Islands in the western Pacific Ocean. On Saipan, the prevalence of HBsAg among pregnant women is 7.5%, compared with 16% to 18% cited by Chen et al on Taiwan.In 1984, a hepatitis serosurvey was conducted before the introduction of hepatitis B vaccine. The island of Saipan was divided into numerous sectors of approximately equal population, and all households within randomly chosen sectors were sampled. This sample yielded data on 124 children aged 3 to 4 years.