Erida Nelaj1, Mirela Lika (Çekani)2, Silva Bino1
1 Institute of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology and Control of Infectious Disease, National Immunization Program
2 Tirana University, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Department of Biology
Abstract: There are about 150 million carriers of hepatitis B virus all over the world, most of whom are unaware that they are carriers. Most babies born to mothers who are carriers also become carriers. About 25% of untreated babies who are infected with hepatitis B virus subsequently develop severe chronic liver disease or even liver cancer. Hepatitis B kills about 1.1 million people annually. It can be prevented through a safe and effective hepatitis B vaccine. This vaccine has been introduced in Albanian Immunization Program nationwide in 1994. Hepatitis B is given at birth followed by three doses at 2, 4 and 6 months where Hepatitis B is included in DTP-HepB-Hib vaccine. The aim of this study was to evaluate Immunization Program with Hepatitis B vaccination in order to prove program efficacy, increase public confidence in immunizations and advocate for sustainable immunization programs. Methodology was based on three components such as Immunization coverage surveys, serologic surveys and surveillance for acute cases of Hepatitis B. Results of this study showed that vaccination coverage is really high, more than 95% and with drop-out rates less than 10%. Anti-HBs levels in immunized children are very high comparing to unimmunized ones. Incidence of Hepatitis B in children 0-14 years old is almost zero. Such results tell us that vaccination with Hepatitis B is one of the most fruitful strategies on long term control of Hepatitis B in a country with a high HBV endemicity like ours.
Key words: immunization, vaccination coverage, Anti-HBs, Hepatitis B incidence