Assuming the question actually seeks to know how long protection provided by the hepatitis B (HBV) vaccine lasts, the available data suggests >20 years from time of last shot.
There are several HBV vaccines and HBV vaccine manufacturers (see Table below from 1). Many variables impact how long HBV vaccine protection could last, namely which vaccine, separate or in combination with other vaccines, whether it’s being administered to a baby/child whose mother is/was HBV-positive, whether person getting the vaccine has other infections such as HIV or conditions such as renal insufficiency, to name some of the most important variables. However, thankfully mix-and-match of different HBV vaccines doesn’t affect strength of immune response (2, 3).
What Does HBV Vaccine Protection Consist Of?
- For most infectious diseases for which we have vaccines, we don’t yet know for sure what kind of immune response is both necessary and sufficient for ensuring protection. Thus started the quest for what vaccinologists call Correlates of Protection, i.e., surrogate markers for protection.
- In the case of HBV, anti-Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) antibody is used. HBV vaccine-induced protection is defined as >10mIU/ml of anti-HBsAg (4). However, these antibodies decline rapidly within the 1st year and then continue to decline steadily so much so that they’re <10mIU/ml in 7 to 50% of adults 5 years post-vaccination and in 30 to 60% 9 to 11 years post-vaccination (5).
- Nevertheless, in immunocompetent people, a primary HBV vaccine series can prevent infection for >20 years, even if anti-HBsAg antibodies have declined or even disappeared (6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14). See the table below from 1 for some examples of long-lasting HBV vaccine protection.
- Key requirement is that vaccine should induce strong memory T and B cells (15). In that regard, rather than which vaccine is used, what matters more is which muscle the vaccine is injected into. Commonly used HBV vaccines are much more effective when injected into the deltoid muscle compared to the gluteal (16).
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3. Chan, Cho-Yu, et al. “Booster response to recombinant yeast-derived hepatitis B vaccine in vaccinees whose anti-HBs responses were initially elicited by a plasma-derived vaccine.” Vaccine 9.10 (1991): 765-767.
4. Jack, A. D., et al. “What level of hepatitis B antibody is protective?.” Journal of Infectious Diseases 179.2 (1999): 489-492.
5. Courouce, A. M., et al. “Long-term efficacy of hepatitis B vaccination in healthy adults.” Viral Hepatitis and Liver Disease (1988): 1002-1005.
6. van der Sande, Marianne AB, et al. “Long-term protection against carriage of hepatitis B virus after infant vaccination.” Journal of Infectious Diseases 193.11 (2006): 1528-1535.
7. Su, Fu-Hsiung, et al. “Hepatitis B seroprevalence and anamnestic response amongst Taiwanese young adults with full vaccination in infancy, 20 years subsequent to national hepatitis B vaccination.” Vaccine 25.47 (2007): 8085-8090.
8. Hammitt, Laura L., et al. “Hepatitis B immunity in children vaccinated with recombinant hepatitis B vaccine beginning at birth: a follow-up study at 15 years.” Vaccine 25.39 (2007): 6958-6964.
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10. But, David Yiu-Kuen, et al. “Twenty-two years follow-up of a prospective randomized trial of hepatitis B vaccines without booster dose in children: final report.” Vaccine 26.51 (2008): 6587-6591.
11. Bialek, Stephanie R., et al. “Persistence of protection against hepatitis B virus infection among adolescents vaccinated with recombinant hepatitis B vaccine beginning at birth: a 15-year follow-up study.” The Pediatric infectious disease journal 27.10 (2008): 881-885.
12. Roznovsky, L., et al. “Long-term protection against hepatitis B after newborn vaccination: 20-year follow-up.” Infection 38.5 (2010): 395-400.
13. Poovorawan, Y., et al. “Evidence of protection against clinical and chronic hepatitis B infection 20 years after infant vaccination in a high endemicity region.” Journal of viral hepatitis 18.5 (2011): 369-375.
14. Wu, Qian, et al. “Antibody levels and immune memory 23 years after primary plasma-derived hepatitis B vaccination: results of a randomized placebo-controlled trial cohort from China where endemicity is high.” Vaccine 29.12 (2011): 2302-2307.
15. Banatvala, Jangu, Pierre Van Damme, and Stephan Oehen. “Lifelong protection against hepatitis B: the role of vaccine immunogenicity in immune memory.” Vaccine 19.7 (2000): 877-885.
16. Shaw, F. E., et al. “Effect of anatomic injection site, age and smoking on the immune response to hepatitis B vaccination.” Vaccine 7.5 (1989): 425-430. ).