Epidemiology and ethics in the Hepatitis B vaccine

Anant Phadke, Ashok Kale


Abstract

The current claims of Hepatitis B virus (HBV) carrier rate in India are highly exaggerated, unscientific and misleading. A series of errors is being made in estimating the burden of HBV disease and its significance. These errrors must be corrected, and we must scientifically assess the burden of morbidity, mortality and consequent loss of life-years due to HBV in India. Finally, we must also discuss the various options for a HBV vaccination strategy in India on the basis of cost effectiveness and logistical feasibility. We are unaware of any such exercise by the Indian Association of Paediatrics before its strong recommendation of universal immunisation of Indian children against HBV.

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