A four-dose vaccination schedule was used to interrupt perinatal transmission of hepatitis B virus from carrier mothers to their babies. Of 49 babies immunised and successfully followed up, 43 (88%) became immune: 15 out of 21 (71%) of babies born to HBeAg + mothers became immune, the other 6 becoming the only carrier babies in the study. Without immunisation a carrier rate in excess of 70% would have been expected in this high-risk group. Vaccine alone, given in a rapid immunisation schedule, protected the majority of babies at risk. In those babies in whom the carrier state occurred in spite of immunisation, infection may have taken place in utero, or the infant may have failed to produce adequate antibody in response to the vaccine.