Background: To evaluate the safety and immunogenicity of the thiomersal-free (TF) and thiomersal-containing (TC) formulations of Hepavax-Gene in healthy Vietnamese neonates.
Methods: A single-blind, randomized, controlled study in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Healthy infants, born after a normal gestational period (37–42 weeks) to hepatitis B surface antigen-negative mothers, participated in the study. Subjects were randomly allocated in a 1:1 ratio to receive either Hepavax-Gene TC or Hepavax-Gene TF using a standard 0–1–6-month administration schedule. Postvaccination blood samples were taken at months 1, 6 and 7. Parents/legal guardians recorded solicited local and systemic adverse events up to 4 weeks after each vaccination.
Results: Very high proportions of subjects were seroprotected. Seroprotection rates at 1, 6 and 7 months were all above 95% using a 10 IU/L cutoff, and were mostly above 90% using a 100 IU/L cutoff. Seroprotection rates between the 2 formulations were equivalent within a 5% margin for either cutoff titer both after 6 and 7 months. There were no significant differences in the number of adverse events reported between the 2 formulations. Safety results were in line with previous reports for Hepavax-Gene. Both formulations of Hepavax-Gene were well tolerated. There were no local adverse events reported in the TF group. No serious adverse events were reported during the study.
Conclusions: The thiomersal-free formulation of Hepavax-Gene was noninferior to the thiomersal-containing formulation of Hepavax-Gene in terms of immunogenicity. There was evidence that the thiomersal-free vaccine was associated with fewer local adverse events.