It’s no secret that, as parents, we make our children’s health and wellbeing our main priority. From making sure they’re engaging in healthy eating habits to getting their annual check-ups, most parents will go to any length to stay on top of it all to ensure our children are healthy.
Still, there are some critically important things that we, as parents, should prioritize for our own health and protection against diseases. We recently caught up with Bonnie Hui-Callahan, PharmD, CDCES, who is a pharmacist, mother of four, and member of the Pharmacist Moms group, the largest community of women pharmacists in the U.S., for her perspective.
Q: What are some of the common pitfalls you see when it comes to managing our own health needs as parents?
As a pharmacist and busy mom myself, I talk with moms every day and know firsthand that we can get so caught up in taking care of everyone else, we often forget or neglect ourselves. It’s important to keep in mind that to take care of everyone else, we need to take care of ourselves.
After all, being the healthiest you can be is the best thing you can do for your family and for yourself. Taking the stairs over the elevator; bringing a water bottle with you whenever you step out of the house; stocking frozen fruit and veggies regularly for easy and healthy snacking; and setting a phone reminder to schedule that next check-up are just a few ways we can incorporate healthy habits into our busy lives.
In a recent survey, 72% of moms admitted they don’t always keep up with their routine healthcare including staying up to date on their vaccinations.i Like eating healthy foods, exercising, and getting regular check-ups, vaccines play a vital role in keeping you healthy. In fact, vaccines are one of the most convenient and safest preventive care measures available.
Q: There has been a lot of talk about vaccines in the past few years. What updates should parents know?
It’s true that many people are familiar with vaccines to protect against COVID-19, Flu, Shingles, Tdap, and Pneumonia. But what you may not know is that the CDC recently updated its adult vaccination recommendation and now recommends that adults aged 19-59* be vaccinated against hepatitis B as wellii. This is because rates of hepatitis B infections are on the rise and are highest among people 30-59 years of age.iii, iv, v
Being up to date on vaccinations can make the difference between staying healthy and dealing with potentially life-threatening illness. Statistics show that approximately 296 million people globally are living with hepatitis B.vi It’s important to note that there is no cure for hepatitis B, so prevention is essential. Hepatitis B is an incurable liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus. When the virus attacks the liver, the resulting health complications can be lifelong or even deadly.
Q: How can parents know if they are already protected against hepatitis B – or if they need to catch up to their kids’ vaccination status?
Beginning in 1991, it became standard of care for infants to be vaccinated against hepatitis B at birth. In fact, it’s the first vaccine most infants receive before they leave the hospital.iii, iv However, for adults born before 1991, many are likely not protected.
That’s why it’s important for parents to prioritize their health by getting caught up on their hepatitis B vaccination status to make sure they are caught up with their kids.
There are different options for hepatitis B vaccinations, but only one protects adults with just two doses in one month—HEPLISAV-B [Hepatitis B Vaccine (Recombinant), Adjuvanted].vii While other adult hepatitis B vaccines require at least 3 doses and take 6 months to complete, with two dose, one month HEPLISAV-B, you can prioritize your health without an extra trip to the pharmacy, which we can all agree is ideal for a busy parent’s lifestyle. ii, vii, viii, ix
Q: Where can people go to learn more?
Don’t wait to get protected. Get caught up on your hepatitis B vaccine status today by going to your local pharmacy.
To learn more about two dose, one month HEPLISAV-B vii and to find a pharmacist near you who can provide HEPLISAV-B visit https://www.heplisavb.com/pharmacy-finder/
HEPLISAV-B is indicated for the prevention of infection caused by the hepatitis B virus in adults 18 years of age and older.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
If you have a history of severe allergic reaction after a previous dose of any hepatitis B vaccine, or to any ingredient of HEPLISAV-B, including yeast, do not take HEPLISAV-B.
HEPLISAV-B must be given by a medical professional, who will monitor you afterwards to check for allergic reaction.
If you are immunocompromised, or receiving immunosuppressant therapy, you may have less of an immune response to HEPLISAV-B.
Some people have hepatitis B infection without being aware of it or showing any symptoms. If you already have hepatitis B present in your body, HEPLISAV-B may not prevent hepatitis B infection.
The most common side effects reported by patients within 7 days of vaccination with HEPLISAV-B were pain at the site of injection (23%-39%), tiredness (11%-17%), and headache (8%-17%).
Please see full Prescribing Information.
* The CDC recommends hepatitis B vaccination for all adults ages 19-59 years old, as well as adults older than 60 with risk factors for hepatitis B. Anyone 60 years or older who does not meet risk-based recommendations may still receive hepatitis B vaccination.ii
i Wakefield Research Survey conducted in March 2022 of 1,000 mothers, nationwide
ii Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Recommended adult immunization schedule for ages 19 years or older, United States, 2022. Accessed January 26, 2023.
iii Weng MK, Doshani M, Khan MA, et al. Universal hepatitis B vaccination in adults aged 19-59 years: updated recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices—United States, 2022. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2022;71(13):477-483. doi:10.15585/mmwr.mm7113a1
iv He WQ, Guo GN, Li C. The impact of hepatitis B vaccination in the United States, 1999-2018. Hepatology. 2022;75(6):1566- 1578. doi:10.1002/hep.32265
v Hepatitis B Foundation. Hepatitis B facts and figures. Accessed March 8, 2022. https://www.hepb.org/what-is-hepatitis-b/what-is-hepb/facts-andfigures
vi Estimate based on World Health Organization data from 2019.
vii HEPLISAV-B. Package insert. Dynavax Technologies Corporation; 2020.
viii Engerix-B. Package insert. GlaxoSmithKline; 2021.
ix Dynavax Technologies Corporation. FDA Advisory Committee Briefing Document: HEPLISAV-B™ (Hepatitis B Vaccine [Recombinant], Adjuvanted). Presented at: Meeting of the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee; July 28, 2017; Silver Spring, MD.
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