Parents and antivaccine groups in the US are making their objections to the routine universal hepatitis B vaccine for infants heard much to the annoyance of public health professionals and medical journals.
Currently in the US, 42 states have made it a legal requirement that children get vaccinated before they can enter grade school. To further the debate, the House Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources held a hearing recently under the banner “Hepatitis B Vaccine: Helping or Hurting Public Health”. Parents concerned about the link between the vaccine and multiple sclerosis, SIDS, autism, diabetes and a host of other autoimmune diseases aired their views and questioned whether widespread enforced immunisation was really about health or profits.
Many experts also testified, reiterating the official line that the vaccine was a totally safe and relevant way to protect “all children and all communities”. This, of course, ignores the fact that hep B is largely a sexually transmitted disease from which children are not at risk (JAMA, 1999; 282: 15-16).