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J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2003 Sep;37(3):258-61.

Immunogenicity and safety of hepatitis A vaccine in children with chronic liver disease.

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Hospital de Clinicas and Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, School of Medicine, Porto Alegre, Brazil.



Acute hepatitis A superimposed on chronic liver disease has been associated with a more severe course of disease and development of fulminant hepatitis. The aim of this study was to evaluate the immunogenicity and safety of an inactivated hepatitis A virus vaccine in children with chronic liver disease.


This was an open, prospective, and controlled trial with 89 anti-HAV negative children between 1 and 16 years of age studied at a pediatric liver disease and transplantation referral center. Inactivated HAV vaccine (Havrix), from GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals containing 720 Elisa units of alum-adsorbed hepatitis A antigen per 0.5 ml dose was used. Thirty-four pediatric patients with chronic liver disease (mean age: 7.0 +/- 4.86 years) and 55 healthy controls (mean age: 4.8 +/- 2.7 years) received two doses of Havrix vaccine in months zero and six. Seroconversion and anti-HAV titers expressed as geometric mean titers (GMT) in mIU/ml were measured at months one and seven, by a modified Hepatitis A virus antibodies (HAVAB) assay.


Seroconversion rates at four weeks after primary immunization were 76% and 94% and the GMT 107.77 and 160.77 mIU/ml in the patient and control groups, respectively. One month after second dose the seroconversion rates were 97% and 100% in the groups with GMT of 812.40 and 2,344.90 mIU/ml. Both doses were well tolerated with no significant adverse events observed. Local injection-site symptoms were the most common reactions reported in both groups.


Although GMTs were significantly lower in children with chronic liver disease compared to healthy controls, the overall seroconversion rates were not different. Hepatitis A virus vaccine was safe, well-tolerated, and immunogenic in children with chronic liver disease.

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