World Hepatitis Day, recognized annually on July 28th, is an opportunity to raise awareness of the global burden of viral hepatitis. In 2016, the World Health Assembly endorsed the elimination of viral hepatitis as a public health threat, including elimination of mother-to-child transmission of hepatitis B by 2030.
Theme: Hepatitis Can’t Wait
Mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of hepatitis B is the primary source of chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, the leading cause of cirrhosis and liver cancer. Up to 90% of infants infected at birth will develop chronic HBV infection. Hepatitis B vaccines can’t wait – infants must be vaccinated within 24 hours of birth to prevent MTCT of the virus. Completing the hepatitis B vaccination series with at least 3 additional doses by 6 months of age offers lifelong protection against HBV infection.
In 2021, over half of all newborns worldwide were not protected by a universal hepatitis B vaccine within 24 hours of birth. By supporting the introduction of the hepatitis B birth dose and improving coverage of the full hepatitis B vaccination series, CDC works with partners and countries to reduce the burden of hepatitis B, improve health equity, and advance global health security.
Hepatitis B is a vaccine-preventable disease caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). It affects approximately 296 million people globally and is the leading cause of cirrhosis and liver cancer.
The World Health Organization recommends that all newborns receive a hepatitis B birth dose (HepB-BD) vaccine within 24 hours of birth – but by the end of 2021 only 111 of 194 countries provided a HepB-BD to all newborns. In Africa, where the burden of hepatitis B is highest, 33 of 47 countries have no HepB-BD. In 2021, only 17% of children in Africa were given a birth dose.