FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 31, 2022
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 CDC’s formal adoption to recommend hepatitis B vaccination for all adults ages 19-59:
“NVHR applauds Director Walensky and CDC for recommending universal hepatitis B virus (HBV) vaccination for all adults ages 19-59 in the United States. The adoption of this recommendation moves us closer to our goal of eliminating viral hepatitis by stemming the tide in hepatitis B infections across the country, particularly for communities who have long been subjected to health inequities.
“The formal adoption of this recommendation, one that was made unanimously by the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), marks a new milestone in the fight against hepatitis B. Despite major reductions in HBV infections achieved through evolving hepatitis B vaccine policy over the past four decades, progress has stalled in the past 10 years. The shift from risk-based guidelines to a universal recommendation will help to overcome that stalled progress by preventing thousands of adult infections per year.
“We must continue our efforts to ensure equitable distribution of the hepatitis B vaccine for adults and encourage vaccination in routine care across the broadest possible range of settings, 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. Only 25% of adults are vaccinated against HBV and 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 opioid 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