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Abstract

Persistence of seropositivity conferred by hepatitis A vaccine administered to children <2 years of age is unknown and passively transferred maternal antibodies to hepatitis A virus (maternal anti-HAV) may lower the infant's immune response to the vaccine. One hundred ninety-seven infants and young children were randomized into three groups to receive a two-dose hepatitis A vaccine: group 1 at 6 and 12 months, group 2 at 12 and 18 months, and group 3 at 15 and 21 months of age. Within each group, infants were randomized by maternal anti-HAV status. Anti-HAV levels were measured at 1 and 6 months and at 3, 5, 7, and 10 years after the second dose of hepatitis A vaccination. Children in all groups had evidence of seroprotection (>10 mIU/mL) at 1 month after the second dose. At 10 years, all children retained seroprotective anti-HAV levels except for only 7% and 11% of children in group 1 born to anti-HAV–negative and anti-HAV–positive mothers, respectively, and 4% of group 3 children born to anti-HAV–negative mothers. At 10 years, children born to anti-HAV–negative mothers in group 3 had the highest geometric mean concentration (GMC) (97 mIU/mL; 95% confidence interval, 71-133 mIU/mL) and children born to anti-HAV–positive mothers in group 1 had the lowest GMC (29 mIU/mL; 95% confidence interval, 20-40 mIU/mL). Anti-HAV levels through 10 years of age correlated with initial peak anti-HAV levels (tested at 1 month after the second dose). Conclusion: The seropositivity induced by hepatitis A vaccine given to children <2 years of age persists for at least 10 years regardless of presence of maternal anti-HAV. (HEPATOLOGY 2012)