Pennsylvania Health Secretary Announces Hepatitis B Vaccine Now Included in Tot Trax Program

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Calvin B. Johnson today announced that parents can have their newborn babies immunized against hepatitis B at no cost as a part of the Tot Trax Program, the first vaccine added to the program.

"With hospital and community support, the Tot Trax Program provides the first step toward protection of Pennsylvania newborns," Johnson said. "With the addition of the hepatitis B vaccine, newborns can now receive this vaccine early in life -- before they leave the hospital -- and at no cost."

Hepatitis B is a serious disease caused by a virus that attacks the liver. The virus, which is called hepatitis B virus (HBV), can cause lifelong infection, cirrhosis of the liver, liver cancer, liver failure and death.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that infants receive the first dose of hepatitis B vaccine soon after birth and before hospital discharge. The Department of Health is encouraging participation of all birthing facilities across Pennsylvania in hepatitis B immunization education.

Pennsylvania's Tot Trax program is a special maternity services program developed to increase the immunization coverage levels of the commonwealth's preschool population. The primary goal of the Tot Trax program is to teach new parents the importance of immunizing their babies on time and every time until the basic infant immunization series is complete by 2 years of age. Each hospital with maternity services is able to customize the Tot Trax program to work within the parameters of their patient services.

Source: Pennsylvania Department of Health