Why is Hepatitis A not in the childhood immunization...

Question: 

Why is Hepatitis A not in the childhood immunization schedule? The risk of exposure is much higher than, say, Polio, is it not?

Answer: 

In BC, decisions to fund vaccine programs are made by the Ministry of Health based on recommendations by the Communicable Disease Policy Advisory Committee chaired by the Provincial Health Officer.  This expert committee makes recommendations based on epidemiology, the best available scientific evidence, and the advice of national and international expert groups, which are then prioritized against other public health initiatives.  

Some of the diseases we immunize against are now rare or have been eliminated from Canada. However, these diseases (i.e. polio) are still common in other parts of the world.  Because of international travel, travelers can bring these diseases into this country.  Without immunizations these diseases could spread quickly here.  For this reason, we need to keep immunizing until these diseases have been completely eliminated globally.

The hepatitis A vaccine is not part of the routine immunization schedule for all children. The hepatitis A vaccine is however provided free to children who are considered to be at high-risk for infection. For a list of children eligible for the free hepatitis A vaccine, please see the HealthLink BC File: Hepatitis A vaccine.  The vaccine is also available for purchase for those who are not eligible. 

 

Date last updated: 
Wednesday, Nov 13, 2013
Date last reviewed: 
Wednesday, Nov 01, 2017