Physician calls on Nigerians to stick to HBV vaccination guidelines

Abiodun Ajayi, a Nigerian medical practitioner, recently called on Nigerians to follow the World Health Organization's recommendations for hepatitis B virus vaccination to prevent infection and cancer.

Ajayi said that the HBV vaccination is 95 percent effective in preventing infection from the virus and its chronic consequences, including liver damage and liver cancer. The WHO recommendation says that all infants should receive the HBV vaccine within 24 hours after birth, Premium Times Nigeria reports.

"In areas where mother-to-infant spread of the hepatitis B virus is common, the first dose of vaccine should be given as soon as possible after birth, within 24 hours," Ajayi said, according to Premium Times Nigeria.

Ajayi also said that the vaccine should be administered to children under the age of 18 who have not previously received the vaccine. Vaccination is particularly important for people in high risk groups, including people with high-risk sexual behavior, people who live in a household with infected people, injecting drug users, people who frequently require blood or blood products, healthcare workers at occupational risk of hepatitis B infection and recipients of solid organ transplantation.

More than 20 million people throughout the world are infected with the hepatitis B virus and more than 600,000 people die annually because of HBV-related consequences, Premium Times Nigeria reports.