FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 3, 2021
Josh Berkowitz: (703) 939-7056
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable (NVHR), a national coalition working to eliminate viral hepatitis, today released the following statement from Director of Policy Daniel Raymond on the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ (ACIP) decision to recommend hepatitis B vaccination for all adults ages 19-59:
“NVHR applauds ACIP for recommending all adults ages 19-59 receive the vaccine against hepatitis B. The Committee’s recommendation provides new opportunity to stem the tide of spikes in hepatitis B infections across the country, particularly for communities who have long been subjected to health inequity, and ultimately moves us closer to our goal of eliminating viral hepatitis.
“We are disappointed that the Committee did not include adults ages 60 and older in its recommendation. We encourage healthcare providers to discuss vaccination with their patients in this population based on their risk factors.
“NVHR thanks its partners in the advocacy community who were integral in supporting the recommendation, including the Hepatitis B Foundation. Through a multi-pronged effort, Hepatitis B Foundation was able to secure over 300 individual signatures on a petition to CDC, as well as deliver an organizational sign-on letter to the Advisory Committee that urged them to address the rising rate of hepatitis B by recommending universal vaccination for adults.
“We must continue our efforts to ensure equitable distribution of the hepatitis B vaccine for adults and encourage vaccination as a form of prevention, to ultimately eliminate viral hepatitis.”
Hepatitis B remains a significant public health threat in the United States, despite the fact that highly effective vaccines exist. Approximately 95% of new HBV infections occur among adults; meanwhile, the vaccine has contributed to a 96% decline in the incidence of acute hepatitis B in children and adolescents as it has been successfully integrated into the childhood vaccination schedule.
Wide disparities in incidence of hepatitis B exist among communities of color, people who inject drugs, immigrants, people who are incarcerated, and others. More than 50% of Americans living with chronic hepatitis B are Asian American and Pacific Islanders. The overdose epidemic has contributed to an increase in acute hepatitis B infection among unvaccinated people who inject drugs.
For more information about viral hepatitis and initiatives to support vaccination against hepatitis B, please visit www.nvhr.org.
About the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable (NVHR)
The National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable, an initiative of HEP, is a national coalition fighting for an equitable world free of viral hepatitis. NVHR seeks to eliminate viral hepatitis in the United States and improve the lives of those affected through advocacy, education, and support to national, state and local partners. For more information, visit www.nvhr.org