Since January of 1992, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has recommended the routine administration of the Hepatitis B vaccine to all newborns before discharge from the hospital. The vaccine is given in a series of three, with the second and third doses given at two months and six months during your baby’s well-child exam. Hepatitis B is a viral infection of the liver which can cause liver failure, cirrhosis, and also can predispose infected individuals to liver cancer.
In Massachusetts, Hepatitis B vaccine is required for child care, kindergarten and seventh grade attendance, as well as all health science students (full-time and part-time, undergraduate and graduate) and freshmen in college.
The vaccine currently used by all hospitals is preservative-free and does not contain any mercury-containing preservatives.
Sometimes the best way to protect your baby is by protecting yourself. You may be asked by your obstetrician about receiving TdaP or seasonal influenza vaccines prior to discharge. Babies whose mothers have received these vaccines have been shown to have a lower risk of contracting whooping cough (pertussis) or influenza.