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Jornal de Pediatria

Print version ISSN 0021-7557On-line version ISSN 1678-4782


SADECK, Lilian S. R.  and  RAMOS, José L. A.. Immune response of preterm infants to hepatitis B vaccine administered within 24 hours after birth. J. Pediatr. (Rio J.) [online]. 2004, vol.80, n.2, pp.113-118. ISSN 0021-7557.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the immune response of preterm infants to hepatitis B vaccination. METHODS: Three doses of recombinant hepatitis B vaccine (5 µg dose) were administered to 35 preterm and 21 full-term infants within 24 hours after birth and at one and six months of postnatal age. RESULTS: A protective antibody response (anti-HB > 10 mUI/mL) was observed three months after the last dose in 92.6% and 100% of preterm and full-term infants (p > 0.05), respectively. Newborns with gestational age below 34 weeks presented lower antibody responses in all three periods. However, gestational age was not important to determine the antibody response in the three periods analyzed. When antibody response was analyzed in terms of birth weight, it was observed that a protective response was present in 75 and 100% of newborns with birth weight < 1,500 g and > 1,500 g, respectively. Birth weight was shown to be a relevant factor in determining a protective antibody response at six months of postnatal age. Nonresponders received a fourth vaccine dose and an adequate antibody response was obtained in 100%. CONCLUSION: The antibody response of preterm infants was similar to that of term newborns. Hepatitis B vaccination can be initiated on the first day of life in preterm newborns, following the same scheme recommended for term newborns. However, in preterm infants with birth weight less than or equal to 1,500 g, whose antibody response is lower, anti-HB titers should be monitored at nine months of age, or a four-dose vaccination scheme should be provided, with doses on the first day of postnatal life and one, six and nine months later.

Keywords : Newborn; vaccination; hepatitis B.

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