Hepatitis-B Vaccine

Hepatitis B is mainly a disease of injected-drug addicts and sex trade workers; the hepatitis B virus is acquired by contact with infected body fluids. The disease is uncommon and very many cases, especially the young, have no symptoms, recover completely and then are immune for the rest of their lives. The life-threatening complications of hepatitis B infection – cirrhosis and liver cancer – take ten to thirty years to develop and, according to statistics, cause death in fewer than one quarter of one percent (<0.25%) of those infected. But even that rate may be an overestimate since deaths of hepatitis B infected drug addicts and alcoholics may actually be due to their liver-intoxicating habits and not the virus.

Babies are not engaged in these high risk activities that put them at risk of acquiring the disease. If they have acquired the virus from their mothers, they are given an injection of hepatitis B antibodies and vaccinated in the hope that that will prevent them from contracting the disease. But what’s the excuse for vaccinating the uninfected majority of the infant population? Perhaps the reason has something to do with the fact that infants are much easier to corral than street people; and their parents are more apt than residents of the streets to accept vaccination after hearing fear mongering lectures from Public Health.

It’s unclear whether or not hepatitis B vaccines used for Canadian infant and child vaccination programs still contain mercury. The surest way to know if your child is being offered a vaccine containing mercury is to ask to see the container. A 0.5 ml vial for infants or a 1.0 ml vial for older children is a single dose container which is thrown away after the syringe is withdrawn. If the container is larger, it contains enough vaccine for several doses and must contain a preservative. The preservative in hepatitis B vaccine is Thimerosal, a compound which is approximately 50% mercury.