Perinatal Hepatitis B Prevention Program

The Perinatal Hepatitis B Prevention Program works to identify the hepatitis B status of pregnant people, to communicate with those at high risk for transmitting hepatitis B infection to their infants, and to ensure access to the hepatitis B vaccine and hepatitis B immune globulin. The main goal is to reduce the incidence of hepatitis B in infants born to people with hepatitis B. The universal birth dose of the hepatitis B vaccine for ALL infants is recommended by CDC.

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection in a pregnant woman poses a serious risk to her infant at birth. Without post-exposure immunoprophylaxis, up to 45% of infants born to HBV-infected mothers in the United States will become infected. Up to 90% of those infected will develop chronic, life-long HBV infection, approximately one-fourth of whom will eventually die from chronic liver disease. 

Perinatal HBV transmission can be prevented by identifying HBV-infected (i.e. hepatitis B surface antigen [HBsAg]-positive) pregnant people and providing hepatitis B immune globulin and hepatitis B vaccine to their infants within 12 hours of birth.

All pregnant women should be tested during an early prenatal visit with EACH pregnancy, even if tested before or previously vaccinated. 

If a person tests positive for hepatitis B during their pregnancy, the local District Office of the Vermont Department of Health will be notified, as will the perinatal hepatitis B coordinator who will notify the hospital. They will help make sure that the woman and her baby receive the proper education, medication and vaccination to prevent the spread of hepatitis B during the birth.

Hepatitis B Reporting

Under Vermont law, all cases of hepatitis B infection, including those in pregnant women with positive test results, must be reported to the Vermont Department of Health. To report a suspected or confirmed case of hepatitis B in a pregnant woman, please contact the Perinatal Hepatitis B Coordinator at the Health Department's Infectious Disease Epidemiology Program. The contact numbers are 802-863-7240 or, for calls within Vermont, 800-640-4374.

Treatment Schedule for High-Risk Babies Born to Hepatitis B+ Mothers

Within 12 hours after birth, the baby will receive Hepatitis B Immunoglobulin (HBIG) and the first shot of the Hep B vaccine series. The baby will receive the other two shots of the vaccine series at one month and six months after birth.

HBIG and Hep B vaccines are administered within 12 hours of birth (using different sites, usually each lateral thigh for injection).

Dose Single Antigen Vaccine Pediarix
1BirthNot to be used < 6 weeks of age
Use monovalent HepB vaccine at birth
21 -2 months2 months
36 months4 months
4N/A6 months
Last Updated: