Supplemental hepatitis B vaccine may be needed by some
Of all school aged children from 13 to 14 years old in Taiwan, 98% of them have had the full course of hepatitis B vaccinations, but 2% of them become hepatitis B carriers and 72% will eventually lose their hepatitis B antibodies.
When the hepatitis B antibodies and its immune memory have both dissipated, a supplemental hepatitis B vaccination may be needed. During the window period for the immune memory to awaken, one must avoid undergoing any form of blood transfusion, or be subjected to injections or sexual activity that may bring on hepatitis B infection. Medical personnel who handle blood, those with family members who are chronic hepatitis B carriers, those who have multiple sexual partners, those who are on dialysis and those who engage in tattooing, should get a blood test before age 30 to check on his or her hepatitis B antibody count.
Taiwan has 3 million to 4 million hepatitis B carriers.
So, a 26-year-old woman who had her full course of hepatitis B vaccinations went for a physical checkup three years ago and no hepatitis B antibodies were found in her, so she got a supplemental hepatitis B vaccine but it did not produce any antibodies as expected. After examination, the doctors unexpectedly found that she had been infected by hepatitis B through having sex with her boyfriend and that the woman has become a hepatitis B carrier herself.