July 28, 2021 1:20:11 pm
According to the WHO, the Hepatitis B virus is “50 to 100 times more infectious than HIV”. But, it must be noted that Hepatitis B can be prevented by its vaccine, says Dr Sanjay Goja, director, liver transplant, HPB and robotic liver surgery, Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, Gurugram. However, amid Covid pandemic and the urgency to get vaccinated against the deadly virus, the confusion with regard to both vaccines is quite rife. Since it is now known that apart from respiratory functioning, Covid also invades other vital organs of the body including liver, it is only adding to the already prevailing risk, he added.
On World Hepatitis Day, observed July 28 annually, here are some expert insights about Hepatitis B and Covid vaccine.
What to know about Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B spreads by HBV which potentially causes severe damage and inflammation to the liver, and may lead to liver cirrhosis, if not treated early. “This virus gets transferred from one person to another person through unsafe injection and blood transfusion practice, unprotected sexual relations, from a mother to her unborn baby. Hepatitis B potentially also invades the immune system which may aggravate the severity of the disease,” said Dr Goja.
Potential spectrum of Hepatitis B Virus induced liver damage extends from acute viral hepatitis, acute live failure, chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis and liver cancer, mentioned Dr Goja while stating that around six lakh people annually die worldwide as a consequence of Hepatitis B virus-induced illnesses.
Talking about Hepatitis B vaccine and its vaccination schedules, Dr Mahesh Gupta, consultant, gastroenterologist, Dharamshila Narayana Superspeciality Hospital said, “Ideally, everyone should get Hepatitis B vaccine, especially now with a third wave expected. In recent times, Hepatitis B vaccine has been included in routine vaccination schedule for children.”
Following persons must take it:
*Patients with liver disease, hepatitis C,
*Alcoholic liver disease patients,
*Kidney patient especially those on dialysis,
*And those who require recurrent hospital admission and injectable treatment,
*All health care workers,
*Sexual partners of hepatitis B positive patients and their household contacts,
*Persons at risk of multiple sexual contacts.
There are three doses of Hepatitis B vaccine given at 0, 1, 6 months.
Dr. Monika Jain, chief of gastroenterology and hepatology, Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute said that one needs to consider every aspect of Hepatitis B and its stages concerning the vaccination schedule.
*Hepatitis B patients (asymptomatic) can safely take Covid vaccine.
*Patients undergoing Hepatitis B treatment can take it without stopping the treatment of Hepatitis B.
*Patient with HBV and related cirrhosis should take Covid vaccine as cirrhosis patients tend to get severe illness if she/he catches Covid infection.
*Patients undergoing liver transplant procedure post Hepatitis B infection must get Covid vaccine, because such patients are given anti-rejection drugs and the infection can add to the risk of severity.
*People with Hepatitis B infection are not more vulnerable to Covid but for a patient with HBV-related cirrhosis and in later stages of Hepatitis B, Covid infection may aggravate the risk.
*Persons who were infected with Hepatitis B but now cleared the virus are not at the higher risk of the severity of Covid infection.
Persons without HBV and infected with Covid.
*HBV vaccine only protects against Hepatitis B not Covid .
*If a person’s partial HBV vaccination is done and in case she/he acquires Covid infection, then one can stop vaccination and complete the schedule later after Covid recovery.
*HBV vaccine and Covid vaccine are not recommended to be taken together or in a gap of few days. Any other vaccine should be scheduled after two weeks of Covid vaccine dose.
*Ask for fresh needles and syringes while donating blood or getting injected for any purpose.
*Choose protected sex over the possibility of infection.
*Never use already used piercing or tattooing needles.
*Even while taking salon services, one should ask for fresh blades, sterilised nail cutters etc.
*Get vaccinated as per concerned doctor’s suggestion.
📣 The above article is for information purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional for any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition.