Hepatitis B virus (HBV) vaccination not only prevents HBV infection but also may improve survival rates in people with liver diseases, according to a recent study presented at The Liver Meeting.

The HBV vaccine is among the safest and most effective vaccines available, according to the Hepatitis B Foundation. Up to 2.4 million people in the United States are chronically infected with HBV, and thousands of people die of the infection each year. Only 30% of U.S. adults have been vaccinated against HBV.

Thanks to the expansion of routine HBV vaccination, the number of new infections in the United States has declined from about 260,000 a year in the 1980s to about 14,000 in 2020.

To understand the impact of HBV vaccination on overall survival, researchers from Heidelberg University, Columbia University and Ajou University in South Korea analyzed data from 57,306 people with chronic liver disease from 2000 to 2020.

The researchers found that HBV vaccination improved survival in people with chronic nonalcoholic liver disease, cirrhosis, nonalcoholic liver cirrhosis and alcoholic liver cirrhosis.

Of the cohort studied, only 2.79% of patients with chronic liver disease were vaccinated and nearly half had cirrhosis, according to HCP Live. Those vaccinated had significantly greater survival rates than unvaccinated patients regardless of gender.

“As 97.21% (55,706/57,306) of the population were not reported as immunized, further efforts to improve the quality and comprehensiveness of medical records in chronic liver disease patients must be implemented,” researchers wrote.

The study also found that patients with HBV and chronic nonalcoholic liver disease had worse survival rates. Yet those with chronic nonalcoholic liver disease who were vaccinated against HBV had better survival rates.

What’s more, patients with cirrhosis saw significant benefits from HBV vaccination as well whether or not their cirrhosis was linked to alcohol use, according to researchers.

“Our work indicated that increased coverage of the universal [hepatitis B virus] vaccination programs is of the greatest importance, not only for patients with a high risk of hepatitis B infection but also for all patients with [chronic liver disease],” the investigators wrote.

To learn more, click #Hepatitis B or #HBV Vaccine. There, you’ll find headlines such as “Study Suggests Hep C Patients Should Consider Revaccination for Hep B,” “Hepatitis B Vaccine May Work Better After Hepatitis C Cure” and “Liver Cancer Declined After Advent of Hepatitis C Treatment.”