The Weekly Epidemiological Record (WER) for 13 July 2012, vol. 87, 28/29 (pp 261–276) includes: WHO position paper on hepatitis A vaccines – June 2012
WHO: Hepatitis A vaccination should be part of a comprehensive plan for prevention and control of viral hepatitis
Media Release Extract
13 July 2012 – In an updated position paper, published in the Weekly Epidemiological Record today, WHO recommends that hepatitis A vaccination be integrated into national immunization schedule for children over the age of one, if indicated on the basis of acute hepatitis A incidence and consideration of cost-effectiveness.
Vaccination should particularly be considered in countries with improving socioeconomic status when there is a change from high to intermediate endemicity and when the age of infection shifts to older age group thus increasing the risk of more severe disease and mortality. In these situations vaccination is likely to be cost-effective. In highly endemic countries where hepatitis A virus is widespread, almost all persons are infected with hepatitis A virus in early childhood, when the infection is asymptomatic or results in very mild disease. In these countries, large-scale vaccination programmes are not recommended.
Vaccination against hepatitis A should be part of a comprehensive plan for the prevention and control of viral hepatitis, including measures to improve hygiene and sanitation and measures for outbreak control. Targeted vaccination of high-risk groups should be considered in low and very low endemicity settings to provide individual health benefits. Groups at increased risk of hepatitis A include travellers to areas of intermediate or high endemicity, those requiring life-long treatment with blood products, men who have sex with men, workers in contact with non-human primates, and injection drug users. In addition, patients with chronic liver disease are at increased risk for fulminant hepatitis A and should be vaccinated…