Cost of hepatitis A vaccine: $70. Mounting your own antibody response to hepatitis A before your overseas holiday: priceless

Jake Shortt, Denis Spelman and Erica M Wood
Med J Aust 2007; 187 (1): . || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2007.tb01127.x
Published online: 2 July 2007

To the Editor: Human normal immunoglobulin (NIG) has historically been used to provide passive immunity against hepatitis A infection for susceptible travellers to areas where the virus is endemic.1 The introduction of effective hepatitis A vaccines in recent years (which result in active, long-term immunity to the virus) should have largely replaced the use of NIG for travel prophylaxis.2 However, the Australian Red Cross Blood Service still receives requests to supply NIG for travellers, even though the intended recipients have no contraindications to vaccination.

  • 1 Australian Red Cross Blood Service, Melbourne, VIC.
  • 2 Infectious Diseases Unit, The Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, VIC.


  • 1. Koff RS. Hepatitis A. Lancet 1998; 351: 1643-1649.
  • 2. Webster G, Barnes E, Dusheiko G, Franklin I. Protecting travellers from hepatitis A. BMJ 2001; 322: 1194-1195.
  • 3. Ashur Y, Adler R, Rowe M, Shouval D. Comparison of immunogenicity of two hepatitis A vaccines — VAQTA and HAVRIX — in young adults. Vaccine 1999; 17: 2290-2296.
  • 4. Sagliocca L, Amoroso P, Stroffolini T, et al. Efficacy of hepatitis A vaccine in prevention of secondary hepatitis A infection: a randomised trial. Lancet 1999; 353: 1136-1139.


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