Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends hepatitis A vaccination for children

October 26, 2005

ALEXANDRIA, VA - October 26, 2005 - The National Partnership for Immunization supports the unanimous decision of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) to recommend universal hepatitis A vaccination for all children in a single age cohort between 12 to 35 months, with catch-up vaccination through the pre-school years. Hepatitis A is one of the most commonly reported vaccine-preventable diseases in the country. We believe universal hepatitis A vaccination for children is an effective strategy to reduce disease incidence and applaud the Committee's decision.

"Comprehensive immunization policies are essential to our nation's health," said David Neumann, PhD, Executive Director of the National Partnership for Immunization. "Our ability to reduce the incidence of vaccine-preventable diseases, like hepatitis A, requires constant vigilance. This ACIP recommendation is an important step in reducing the incidence of hepatitis A disease in the U.S."

Children play an important role in hepatitis A transmission. Therefore, expanding childhood vaccination recommendations can be an effective strategy to help save lives and reduce the burden of hepatitis A disease in this country. Universal hepatitis A vaccination for children can also protect communities from the disease through "herd immunity."
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About the National Partnership for Immunization
The National Partnership for Immunization (NPI) is a non-profit organization that was created in 2000 to encourage greater awareness, acceptance and use of immunization by people of all ages through partnerships with public and private organizations. NPI brings together private and public sector partners, including healthcare provider professional associations, community-based organizations, policymakers, vaccine manufacturers, insurance companies, managed care corporations, hospitals, major employers, healthcare and social service professionals, medical and scientific researchers and public health advocates to improve the effectiveness of public and professional educational and outreach efforts to reduce the incidence of vaccine-preventable diseases among children, adolescents and adults.

About Hepatitis A
Hepatitis A is a serious liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus. This virus is found in the stool of persons with hepatitis A and is spread by close personal contact and by eating food or drinking water contaminated with the hepatitis A virus. Hepatitis A can be easily passed by those infected with the disease to others within the same household. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hepatitis A incidence rates in children have been among the highest reported because they often come in close contact with infected children. About one in five people with the disease have to be hospitalized and up to 100 people with the disease may die each year. Symptoms of the disease can be debilitating and include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, abdominal discomfort, jaundice and dark urine.

GlaxoSmithKline provided editorial and media relations assistance for this statement.

Cohn & Wolfe

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