The high levels of hepatitis B infection demand that prevention in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities be improved. A safe, effective and inexpensive vaccine is recommended by the Australian Government for all infants at birth. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population has intermediate-to-high endemicity of hepatitis B infection, according to World Health Organization (WHO) standards and, thus, it is strongly recommended that all children be vaccinated at birth. It is also recommended that children born to mothers who have hepatitis B should receive a dose of hepatitis immunoglobulin at birth. Hepatitis B vaccination programs are cost effective and successful and should further serve to reduce levels among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The following recommendations from the National Hepatitis B Strategy 2010–2013 are supported:

  • a national consistency in groups and communities eligible for funded vaccination with priority to communities at greatest risk of hepatitis B infection.
  • monitoring hepatitis B vaccine uptake at a population level and among populations at greater risk of acute infection are supported.
This approach will prioritise the vaccination of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their immediate family contacts.