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Q: hepatitis b vaccine first military use ( Answered 3 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: hepatitis b vaccine first military use
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: mankin-ga
List Price: $20.00
Posted: 22 Jul 2002 14:31 PDT
Expires: 21 Aug 2002 14:31 PDT
Question ID: 43872
Was hepatitis b vaccine used by US military during Vietnam War ? If so when ?
Subject: Re: hepatitis b vaccine first military use
Answered By: scriptor-ga on 22 Jul 2002 15:31 PDT
Rated:3 out of 5 stars
Dear mankin,

The hepatitis b vaccine was definitely not used by the US military
during the Vietnam War.

It was in 1967 that Dr. Baruch Blumberg together with a number of
colleagues discovered the hepatitis b virus, and in 1969 he and Dr.
Iriving Millman developed the basic principle for producing a vaccine
against the disease. At that point, however, there was no practicably
usable vaccine yet; that was only the beginning of years of extensive
research leading to that goal.

US Army combat forces had left Vietnam by August 23, 1972, leaving
behind only a decreasing number of military instructors. When this
happened, there had not even an experimental prototype vaccine
suitable for humans been developed.

The first hepatitis b vaccine sophisticated enough to be tested on
human beings, developed by Messrs. Szmuness and Hilleman, was ready
for trials in 1975, the same year when the last US soldier left South

The first effective hepatitis b virus was finally licensed for general
use and made available to the public in 1980/81. So it is not only
unlikely but even chronologically impossible that the US military had
used the vaccine in Vietnam.


Beyond Discovery: The Hepatitis B Story (in 11 parts), by the National
Academy of Sciences, 2001

The Hepatitis B Timeline, by the National Academy of Sciences, 2001

About the Hepatitis B Foundation, by the Hepatitis B Foundation, 2001

Vietnam War 1969-1975, by The History Place, 1999

Search terms used:
"hepatitis b vaccine" invented:
"vietnam war" timeline:
"hepatitis b vaccine" blumberg:

I hope this answers your question.
mankin-ga rated this answer:3 out of 5 stars
This may not be correct answer. Have heard from Navy medics differently.

Subject: Re: hepatitis b vaccine first military use
From: bilalmkhan-ga on 18 Feb 2005 14:46 PST
yes the vaccine however was not used in civilian population till around 1979

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