The hepatitis B virus causes inflammation of the liver and can cause complications such as liver scarring or cancer . In most countries, the hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for infants. Previous research has suggested the vaccine for hepatitis B protects against infection for up to 10 years. However, a recent study has shown the vaccine protection continues past 10 years.
Researchers followed eight-hundred-and-forty-one Alaska natives vaccinated with three doses of the hepatitis B vaccine and were followed for 15 years. Researchers periodically took blood from the participants to measure hepatitis B antibodies and hepatitis virus levels. After 15 years, researchers found 84 percent of the participants still had protective antibodies and only three participants had become infected with hepatitis B virus during the 10- to 15-year follow-up period.
It was also found that the hepatitis B vaccine protected most participants from infection and all participants from complications of infection for at least 15 years. Thus researchers say people younger than age 5 at the time of vaccination may be less protected and might benefit from booster doses.