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New Adult Vaccine Against Hepatitis B Gets a Boost

Researchers found that other vaccines don’t work for older people

Hands prepare a vaccine from a vial

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The new hepatitis B vaccine boosts the body's immune response.

A federal advisory panel is recommending a new vaccine against hepatitis B.

The vaccine, called Heplisav-B (HEHP'-lih-sav BEE'), was licensed in November and is the first new hepatitis B vaccine in 25 years.

Hepatitis B vaccines have been in childhood shots for decades. The new vaccine is for adults.

The hepatitis B virus can damage the liver and is spread through contact with blood or other bodily fluids. Cases have been rising, a trend linked to the heroin and opioid epidemic. Meanwhile, researchers found that older vaccines falter in diabetics and older adults.

The new vaccine uses an additive that boosts the body's immune response. It is two shots given over one month.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices endorsed the vaccine Wednesday in Atlanta. The government usually adopts its recommendations.

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