Hepatitis B and the need for a booster dose

Clin Infect Dis. 2011 Jul 1;53(1):68-75. doi: 10.1093/cid/cir270.


After several decades of vaccination against hepatitis B virus in newborns, infants, adolescents, and adults, the question remains whether a booster dose is ever needed. Long-term protection is most commonly measured through 4 methods: the anamnestic response after administration of a booster dose, infection rate in vaccinated populations, in vitro B and T cell activity testing, and seroepidemiological studies. Long-term protection is present despite a decrease in anti-hepatitis B surface antibodies over time. The exact mechanism of long-term protection, however, is not yet fully understood. There is no need for boosters in immunologically potent persons as long as a full course was adequately administered that respected the recommended timelines, as evidenced by studies conducted up to 20 years after the original immunization course. However, a booster dose should be planned for immunocompromised patients, based on serological monitoring.

MeSH terms

  • Hepatitis B / epidemiology
  • Hepatitis B / immunology*
  • Hepatitis B / prevention & control*
  • Hepatitis B Antibodies / immunology
  • Hepatitis B Vaccines / administration & dosage*
  • Hepatitis B Vaccines / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunization Schedule
  • Immunization, Secondary
  • Immunologic Memory


  • Hepatitis B Antibodies
  • Hepatitis B Vaccines