Merck, known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, announced that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted to update multiple recommendations to protect against hepatitis A, which can be a serious liver disease caused by hepatitis A virus (HAV).
ACIP unanimously voted to recommend that all children and adolescents aged 2 through 18 years who have not previously received hepatitis A vaccine be vaccinated routinely at any age (i.e., children and adolescents are recommended for catch-up vaccination).Another vote taken by ACIP unanimously recommended updating the language around the utilization of hepatitis A vaccine in the Vaccines for Children program.
These pediatric updates are in addition to the current CDC recommendation for the routine vaccination of children aged 12-23 months. Details of the ACIP recommendations for hepatitis A will be available from the CDC. The recommendations are under review by the director of the CDC and the Department of Health and Human Services and final recommendations will become official when published in the CDC’sMorbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).
All inactivated hepatitis A vaccines are indicated for two doses. VAQTA® (Hepatitis A Vaccine, Inactivated) is Merck’s vaccine for the prevention of disease caused by HAV. VAQTA is indicated for the prevention of disease caused by HAV in persons 12 months of age and older. The primary dose should be given at least 2 weeks prior to expected exposure to HAV. VAQTA should not be administered to individuals with a history of immediate and/or severe allergic or hypersensitivity reactions (e.g., anaphylaxis) after a previous dose of any hepatitis A vaccine, or to individuals who have had an anaphylactic reaction to any component of VAQTA, including neomycin. Please read below for Select Safety Information.
“ACIP vote comes at a time when the United States continues to experience a widespread outbreak of hepatitis A with more than 20,000 cases reported since 2017,”
said Richard M. Haupt, MD, MPH, vice president and head of vaccines and infectious diseases, Global Medical Affairs at Merck.
“We strongly support ACIP’s votes on hepatitis A vaccination recommendations, including the vote to strengthen the recommendation that children and adolescents aged 2 through 18 years who have not previously received vaccination be routinely vaccinated at any age. We look forward to the CDC’s final, published recommendations.”