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Booster immunization using different hepatitus B recombinent vaccine manufacturers

Mar 28, 1997

When returning 1 month later and after another 6 months for hepatitus B recombinant vaccine boosters, what happens if they use a different manufacturers recombinant hepatitus B vaccine than the previous time? Clinics sometimes switch suppliers. Some clinicians have said you never need a booster after the two boosters. The package inserts with two different manufacturers of recombinant hepatitus B vaccine have different recommendations about getting an additional booster several years after the initial vaccination series. Should you get your titre checked? How regularly? Should you get an additional hepatitus B booster in 3, 5, 10 years or later? How many manufacturers are there of recombinant hepatitus B vaccine? Who are the manufacturers of recombinant hepatitus B vaccine?

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Hi. Thank you for your question.

There are two yeast-derived recombinant vaccines that have been FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) approved against Hepatitis B. They are "Recombivax HB" (Merck & Co.) and "Engerix-B" (SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceuticals). There is also an older version of the Hepatitis B vaccine (Heptavax-B) that is plasma derived. All of these are essentially the same vaccine. The vaccines are all interchangeable. Therefore, if one shot (of the 3 shot series) is Recombivax HB, and another is Engerix-B, there shouldn't be any problem. The 3 shot series consists of the first shot at day one, the second 30 days later, and the third 6 months after the first.

As to the issue of whether a person needs a booster shot or not, currently, the U.S. Centers For Disease Control (CDC) does not recommend booster vaccinations at this time. The length of immunity in most people who have been vaccinated, is presently unknown, and the need for booster immunizations is presently not established. Further studies will indicate if a need for re-immunization is required. However, as far as we know right now, there is no need for routine booster immunizations (beyond the standard 3 shot series) at this time.

Normally, Hepatitis B immunity titres are not routinely done, except if the person has been occupationally exposed to Hepatitis B. If these titres indicate possible insufficient immunity, one additional booster shot (or even the entire 3 shot series) is an option. However, for most people, there is sufficient immunity against Hepatitis B, as long as they have undergone the full 3 shot series.

This information applies to the vast majority of persons being immunized against Hepatitis B. Some modifications may be needed in certain high-risk populations, especially dialysis patients. And remember that the Hepatitis B vaccine will NOT protect against Hepatitis A, C, E, and others. There is a separate vaccine against Hepatitis A, but no other vaccine exists against the other forms of viral Hepatitis.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to call the Centers for Disease Control at 1.800.232.4636 (Nationwide).

Are gay men considered high risk for hepatitus B? How many years after the last hepatitus B and A boosters should gay men get another?
HIV test and HTLV-1

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