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Keywords:

  • epidemiology;
  • hepatitis A vaccine;
  • hepatitis B vaccine;
  • vaccine prevention

Summary.  The introduction and implementation of hepatitis B vaccination programmes in areas of high endemicity has been very stressful. However, this initial accomplishment has led to the reassessment of priorities in some countries which could undermine these early successes. Work still remains to be done to support and implement interventions that will bring us closer to the WHO goal and to the control of hepatitis B in the community at large. Hepatitis A vaccine strategy for immunizing toddlers is shifting to those countries with intermediate endemicity where increasing morbidity in adults is being observed. Accumulating evidence indicates that such programmes can result in impressive reductions in the incidence of hepatitis A by herd immunity. Monitoring of these populations to determine durability of protection will be important to avoid shifting the infection to the older age population, when symptoms are more likely to occur. National policies need to consider hepatitis A vaccination in the context of other public health priorities.