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

Vaccine. 2019 Oct 16;37(44):6648-6655. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2019.09.043. Epub 2019 Sep 20.


Introduction: Infection with hepatitis A virus (HAV) during pregnancy, although uncommon, is associated with gestational complications and pre-term labor. Hepatitis A vaccine (HepA) is recommended for anyone at increased risk for contracting hepatitis A, including women at risk who are also pregnant. Limited data are available on the safety of maternal HepA vaccination.

Objectives: Assess the frequency of maternal HepA receipt and evaluate the potential association between maternal vaccination and pre-specified maternal and infant safety outcomes.

Methods: A retrospective cohort of pregnancies in the Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) resulting in live births from 2004 through 2015 was included. Pregnancies with HepA exposure were compared to those with other vaccine exposures, and to those with no vaccine exposures. Risk factors for contracting hepatitis A were identified up to one-year prior to or during the pregnancy using ICD-9 codes. Maternal and fetal adverse events were evaluated according to maternal HepA exposure status. Adjusted odds ratio (OR) were used to describe the association.

Results: Among 666,233 pregnancies in the study period, HepA was administered at a rate of 1.7 per 1000 (n = 1140), most commonly within the first six weeks of pregnancy. Less than 3% of those exposed to HepA during pregnancy had an ICD-confirmed risk factor. There were no significant associations between HepA exposure during pregnancy and gestational hypertension, gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia/eclampsia, cesarean delivery, pre-term delivery, and low birthweight. There was a statistically significant association between HepA exposure during pregnancy and small-for-gestational age (SGA) infants (aOR 1.32, [95% CI 1.09, 1.60], p = 0.004).

Conclusions: The rate of maternal HepA vaccination was low and rarely due to documented risk factors for vaccination. HepA vaccination during pregnancy was not associated with an increased risk for a range of adverse events examined among pregnancies resulting in live births, but an identified association between maternal HepA and SGA infant outcomes, while likely due to unmeasured confounding, warrants further exploration.

Keywords: Hepatitis A; Maternal immunization; Pregnancy; Vaccination; Vaccine safety.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Hepatitis A / epidemiology*
  • Hepatitis A / prevention & control*
  • Hepatitis A Vaccines / administration & dosage*
  • Hepatitis A Vaccines / adverse effects*
  • Hepatitis A Vaccines / immunology
  • Hepatitis A Virus, Human / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / prevention & control*
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Public Health Surveillance
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Vaccination
  • Young Adult


  • Hepatitis A Vaccines