SECTIONS of this (lengthy) Overview:
- What is Hepatitis B?
- Hepatitis B Quick Facts
- Who is Considered “High Risk” for Hepatitis B Infection?
- Hepatitis B Vaccine History
- Rate of Hepatitis B Infections in the USA
- Why Christian Parents Vaccinate
- Why Christian Parents Delay
- Why Christian Parents Opt Out
- A Consideration, Some Common Sense, and Love
- Sources & Resources
I’m the oldest of 5 children. I recently learned that I was never vaccinated for Hepatitis B (HB), and neither were my first two brothers since we were born before 1991, when the CDC launched a national campaign of adding a recommended 3-dose vaccine series (with the first dose given within 12 hrs of birth) to the childhood vaccination schedule. My 3rd brother, born during the national transition to this new vaccine, was the only one of us to receive the HB vaccine–one dose (not at birth, but at 1 or 2 months–Mom doesn’t remember)–and had a violent reaction. Mom, a nurse, opted to not complete the series for him and passed on it for my sister completely.
After my own research and talking through the Hepatitis B (HB) disease with my mom and other healthcare professionals, I’m convinced that HB is widely misunderstood and that parents should understand the disease as it exists in the United States, risk factors, and the vaccine itself, regardless of vaccine choice.
If you are reading this and were born before 1991 and do not work in the healthcare industry, it’s probable you were never vaccinated either. If you’re a mom or expecting, screening for Hepatitis B infection and immunity is part of your initial blood work early in pregnancy (this is how I found out my status–I’m not immune or vaccinated, but I’ve never been exposed either).
Don’t freak out if you are not immune–like any disease, though this means you’ve probably never been vaccinated (there is a limited 5-10% HB vaccine failure rate), it also means you have made it this far in life without ever being exposed to the real thing (think HIV). If you grew up in a Christian home with a godly heritage, chances are high (99%) your parents and grandparents grew up without being exposed either.
Before rushing to your doctor or local health department to start the 3-shot series, read up on the disease and the vaccine first so that you can make an informed, objective choice either way rather than one based on fear or “just because.” Remember, I’m all about vaccine choice and informed consent. I will not tell you what to do or not do with yourself and your children. If you haven’t already, Read This First: Concerning Vaccines before continuing. Continue reading