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Vaccination & Immunization Message Board


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Cross protection?
Jan 28, 2004
i have a question about vaccines that offer cross protection...like the flu shot if you get type B vaccine you do still have cross protection if you contact type A flu virus, but i have heard that cross protection applies to the hepititis vaccines as well...like we are vaccinated for hep A & B but there is no vaccine for hep C so do we get cross protection from our A & B vaccines against C???
(i know that is confusing but i hope someone knows the answer)
someone in my family (i believe) has hepititis C and i am afraid of contacting it, even though i never visit or see him i guess it still kind of scares me.
In terms of cross protection, it depends on many factors. Is the vaccine designed for long-term or short term protection? How closely related are the two different antigens? Are they related enough that your immune system will be unable to distinguish the two (and assume they are the same)? What is the mutation rate of the antigen?

If you have a type B flu, you will NOT have cross protection with type A. The antigens are too different. However, this year's vaccine contains A/Panama/2007/99 (H3N2) virus, A/New Caledonia/20/99 (H1N1)-like, and B/Hong Kong/1434/2002.

This year's prevalent flu strain, A/Fujian, is a mutation of the A/Panama strain. So while it isn't an exact match to the flu vaccine, there is enough similarities to generate some cross-protection. No one knows exactly how much immunity the flu shot will provide against the A/Fujian strain

OK, now to tackle the hepatitis question

If you are vaccinated against A and B, you won't be immune to C. The vaccine for Hep A isn't routinely given though unless you are in a high risk category (or you are in an area of epidemic of Hep A). The good news is that if you are immune to Hep B, you won't get Hep D (since Hep D can only infect people w/ Hep B)

There is no vaccine for Hep C. If you are really worried, you can get tested for Hep C (people at high/intermediate risk are ... if you receive blood/organ before 1992, or you are/were an IV drug abuser, received clotting factors in the 80s, or go on hemodialysis).

To minimize risk of getting Hep C, don't use products that your infected family member may use that may contain blood (razor, toothbrush, etc). Be careful of tatoo parlors (improper cleaning technique). Most infection of Hep C in the US is due to IV drug abuse.

If you are truly concer, talk to your physician :)

Hope I answered your questions





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