Uptake and safety of Hepatitis B vaccination during pregnancy: A Vaccine Safety Datalink study

Vaccine. 2018 Oct 1;36(41):6111-6116. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2018.08.074. Epub 2018 Sep 5.


Introduction: Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection acquired during pregnancy can pose a risk to the infant at birth that can lead to significant and lifelong morbidity. Hepatitis B vaccine (HepB) is recommended for anyone at increased risk for contracting HBV infection, including pregnant women. Limited data are available on the safety of HepB administration during pregnancy.

Objectives: To assess the frequency of maternal HepB receipt among pregnant women and evaluate the potential association between maternal vaccination and pre-specified maternal and infant safety outcomes.

Methods: We examined a retrospective cohort of pregnancies in the Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) resulting in live birth outcomes from 2004 through 2015. Eligible pregnancies in women aged 12-55 years who were continuously enrolled from 6 months pre-pregnancy to 6 weeks postpartum in VSD integrated health systems were included. We compared pregnancies with HepB exposure to those with other vaccine exposures, and to those with no vaccine exposures. High-risk conditions for contracting HBV infection were identified up to one-year prior to or during the pregnancy using ICD-9 codes. Maternal and fetal adverse events were also evaluated according to maternal HepB exposure status.

Results: Among over 650,000 pregnancies in the study period, HepB was administered at a rate of 2.1 per 1000 pregnancies (n = 1399), commonly within the first 5 weeks of pregnancy. Less than 3% of the HepB-exposed group had a high-risk ICD-9 code indicating need for HepB; this was similar to the rate among HepB unvaccinated groups. There were no significant associations between HepB exposure during pregnancy and gestational hypertension, gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia/eclampsia, cesarean delivery, pre-term delivery, low birthweight or small for gestational age infants.

Conclusions: Most women who received maternal HepB did not have high-risk indications for vaccination. No increased risk for the adverse events that were examined were observed among women who received maternal HepB or their offspring.

Keywords: Hepatitis B vaccine; Pregnancy; Vaccine safety.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Female
  • Hepatitis B / immunology
  • Hepatitis B / prevention & control
  • Hepatitis B Vaccines / administration & dosage*
  • Hepatitis B Vaccines / pharmacokinetics*
  • Hepatitis B Vaccines / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Pregnancy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Vaccination / adverse effects
  • Vaccination / methods
  • Young Adult


  • Hepatitis B Vaccines