Hepatitis B: vaccination programmes in Europe--an update

Vaccine. 2001 Mar 21;19(17-19):2375-9. doi: 10.1016/s0264-410x(00)00457-6.


In the eight years since the Global Advisory Group of the Expanded Program on Immunisation set 1997 as the target for integrating hepatitis B (HB) vaccination into national immunisation programs world-wide, more than 116 countries have included HB vaccine as part of their routine infant or adolescent immunisation programs. Meanwhile, many countries have performed economic evaluation studies, while others have initiated sero-epidemiological studies to generate input data for burden of disease calculation. These studies have indicated that epidemiological and economic arguments cannot be used to delay the implementation of universal hepatitis B vaccination. Some countries have improved their surveillance system and included viral hepatitis in the surveillance programs. Other have put hepatitis B vaccination on the political agenda. By the year 2000, following countries of the WHO European Region (51 countries) have implemented a universal hepatitis B immunisation programme: Andorra, Albania, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Poland, Portugal, parts of the Russian Federation, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, San Marino, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey and Uzbekistan. The Netherlands and some other European countries are seriously studying the issues or are making budgetary provisions for introduction of HB vaccine into their vaccination programme. Most of the European countries, which now use the vaccine routinely, have started with adolescent or infant immunisation. Belgium (1999), France (1994) and Italy (1991) have begun with both adolescent and infant HB immunisation. France continues since 1st October 1998 with the infant immunisation programme only. The rewards of effective implementation of the programmes in these countries are becoming apparent; and their success offers an exemplary model for other countries. The deadline was 1997. Globally, work still remains to be done to support and implement interventions that will bring us closer to the WHO goal and to control, eliminate and eradicate hepatitis B in the coming generations at large. If all the 145 million infants born in 1991 had been vaccinated in this way, the number of chronic carriers would have been reduced by 7.5 million, and 1.8 million deaths prevented.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Data Collection
  • Europe
  • Hepatitis B / prevention & control
  • Hepatitis B Vaccines / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • National Health Programs
  • Vaccination / statistics & numerical data
  • Vaccination / trends
  • World Health Organization


  • Hepatitis B Vaccines