Protecting your liver through hepatitis B vaccination
Around 3.6 million people in the EU/EEA are chronically infected with hepatitis B virus (HBV), a preventable viral infection that can cause cirrhosis – or scarring of the liver – as well as liver cancer. As part of Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, the Commission has set objectives for reducing cancer-related morbidity and mortality, including through the prevention of cancers caused by hepatitis B.
Safe and effective HBV vaccines are available that offer high levels of lifelong protection.
Get vaccinated: make vaccines work
Most EU/EEA countries recommend vaccination against hepatitis B for all infants. It is also beneficial for individuals who may have missed being vaccinated as a child. Anyone can get infected, but those at higher risk include people who inject drugs, people in prison and those with chronic liver diseases, hepatitis C infection or waiting for a transplant, as well as travellers to countries were hepatitis B is present. Sexual activity is a key route of transmission for hepatitis B making those with multiple partners particularly vulnerable.
Effective vaccination strategies have led to a steady decline in hepatitis B transmission in the EU/EEA. However, declines in vaccination coverage in several countries underline the need for strengthened efforts to ensure optimal protection and low levels of transmission.
Did you know? Most of the people living with hepatitis B in the Europe are adults born before the hepatitis B vaccine became available in the 1980s.
Addressing misinformation and disinformation
Routine hepatitis B vaccination of infants began around 30 years ago and ever since its effectiveness and safety have been rigorously assessed and documented. If you would like to know more, talk to your doctor or a qualified health professional. Getting information from trusted sources helps you make informed decisions and ensures you have the best protection throughout your life.