Who Should Get The Hepatitis B Vaccine
The CDC recommends it for all babies, who should get their first dose as newborns.
Other people who need it include:
- People younger than age 19 who haven’t been vaccinated
- Anyone who has a sex partner with hepatitis B
- People who are sexually active but arenât in a long-term relationship in which both partners are monogamous
- Anyone being evaluated or treated for an STD
- Men who have sex with men
- People who share needles used to inject drugs
- Anyone who lives with someone who has hep B
- Anyone whose job routinely puts them at risk for coming in contact with blood or blood-contaminated body fluids
- People with end-stage kidney disease
- People who live and work in facilities for people who are developmentally disabled
- Travelers to regions with moderate to high rates of hepatitis B
- People with chronic liver disease
- People with HIV infections
You should not get the vaccine if you had a severe allergic reaction to an earlier dose or are allergic to yeast, because yeast is used to make the vaccine.
How Can I Contract Hepatitis A
You can contract the hepatitis A virus by eating food or drinking beverages that have been contaminated by human fecal waste.
Resort activities that may put you at risk for hepatitis A include:
Eating food handled by an infected worker who did not wash his/her hands properly after using the washroom
Eating raw or undercooked seafood and shellfish that lived in sewage-polluted water
Eating salads or produce rinsed in contaminated water
Drinking contaminated water or drinks with contaminated ice
Bathing, showering, or swimming in contaminated water
I Am A Healthcare Worker Who Did Not Develop Hepatitis B Antibodies After Immunization What Should I Do
Two versions of hepatitis B vaccine are available. One, called Heplisav-B, contains a novel adjuvant that was not present in previous versions used by adults . Some people did not respond to the older version hepatitis B vaccine. In fact, in a group of adults younger than 40 years of age who received two doses of the older version vaccine 75 of 100 were protected. Following the third dose, this number increased to 90 of 100. However, people older than 40 years of age were less likely to respond to the vaccine with increasing age. On the other hand, 90 to 100 of 100 adults 18 years of age and older respond to Heplisav-B, which was approved for use in 2018.
About 5-10 of every 100 children and adults younger than 40 years of age do not respond to the third dose of the hepatitis B vaccine. Some of these people will be recommended to get vaccinated again. About 5 of 100 people will still not respond after getting all recommended doses of both series. Note that children younger than 18 years of age cannot get Heplisav-B.
If the people who do not respond to vaccination are determined not to have chronic hepatitis B, they will be reliant on taking precautions to reduce the chance of exposure and relying on those around them for protection. In other words, these people will be reliant on herd immunity.
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Vaccines For Hepatitis A And B
Our immune system battles foreign invaders every day, such as when we get a cold virus. When this happens, we develop immunity to that specific virus. This means that our body will fight off the virus if it is ever exposed to it again.
The same protection happens with vaccines. However, the benefit of a vaccination is that you don’t have to go through being sick to enable your body to fight off disease.
Gregory Poland, MD, director of the Mayo Clinic’s Vaccine Research Group, explains that hepatitis vaccinations contain a small amount of the inactive virus. When you get a dose of the vaccine, he says, your immune cells respond by developing immunity against the virus. This immunity lasts over a long period of time.
“So if I get these two doses of hepatitis A vaccine, and then I get exposed 30 years from now, my body will remember that immunity to the vaccine and rapidly start producing antibodies again,” says Poland.
Due to the way hepatitis vaccinations are developed, it is impossible to contract the virus from the vaccine itself, according to Poland.
The hepatitis A vaccine is usually given in two shots and the hepatitis B vaccine is administered as a series of three shots. The most common side effects are redness, pain, and tenderness where the shots are given.
To get long-term protection from these viruses, it’s important to receive all the shots as scheduled. However, if you received one shot and never went back for the others, it’s not too late to catch up.
How Can I Contract Hepatitis B
You can contract hepatitis B by coming into contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person.
Resort activities that may put you at risk for hepatitis B include:
Getting a manicure, pedicure, tattoo, piercing, or acupuncture with improperly sterilized tools
Having sexual contact with an infected partner
Giving first aid to, or receiving it from, an infected person
Receiving a medical or dental procedure with contaminated equipment
Sharing personal grooming items with an infected person
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Safety Of Hepatitis Vaccines
Hepatitis vaccines have been given to millions of people all across the world without any evidence of serious side effects. “They’re very safe, and they’re extremely effective,” says Poland.
If you are not sure whether you should have hepatitis vaccines, talk with your doctor about your specific concerns.
Recommended Doses Of Hepatitis B Vaccine
Recommended doses of hepatitis B by vaccine type, age, formulation, dosage and schedule.
Download PDF version formatted for print: Recommended Doses of Hepatitis B Vaccine
Infants: birth, 1-4, 6-18 monthsOROlder children: 0, 1-2, 4-6 months
20 years & older
Infants: birth, 1-4, 6-18 monthsOROlder children: 0, 1-2, 4-6 months
0, 1, 4-6 months
* The schedule for hepatitis B is flexible, but minimal intervals and minimum ages need to be observed:
- There should be at least 4 weeks between doses 1 and 2, and at least 8 weeks between doses 2 and 3.
- The minimum interval for the overall series from dose 1 to final dose is 4 months .
- Infants, should receive the final dose of hepatitis B vaccine on or after 6 months of age, otherwise long term immunity may be impacted.
- Adults who are immunocompromised or on dialysis require a larger dose of hepatitis B vaccine.
- The Engerix-B dose required is 40mcg/2.0mL on a scheduled of 0, 1, 2, and 6 months.
- For Recombivax HB, a special formulation is available. The dose is 40mcg/1.0mL given on a schedule of 0, 1, and 6 months
6 weeks thru 6 years
Hep B as Engerix-B 10 mcg, DTaP as Infanrix, Polio
Give single antigen hep B dose at birth followed by Pediarix at: 2, 4, 6 months
Hep A as Havrix 720 El.U, Hep B as Engerix-B 20 mcg
0, day 7, day 21-30, 12 months
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How Do You Catch Hepatitis B Virus
Blood from a person infected with hepatitis B virus is heavily contaminated with the virus. As a result, contact with blood is the most likely way to catch hepatitis B. Even casual contact with the blood of someone who is infected can cause infection.
Healthcare workers are at high risk of catching the disease, as are intravenous drug users and newborns of mothers infected with the virus. Sexual contact can also expose people to infection. The virus is also present in low levels in saliva.
How To Get Vaccinated Against Hepatitis B
All babies in the UK born on or after 1 August 2017 are given 3 doses of hepatitis B-containing vaccine as part of the NHS routine vaccination schedule.
These doses are given at 8, 12 and 16 weeks of age.
Babies at high risk of developing hepatitis B infection from infected mothers are given extra doses of the hepatitis B vaccine at birth, 4 weeks and 1 year of age.
If you think you’re at risk and need the hepatitis B vaccine, ask your GP to vaccinate you, or visit any sexual health or genitourinary medicine clinic.
If your job places you at risk of hepatitis B infection, it’s your employer’s responsibility to arrange vaccination for you, rather than your GP. Contact your occupational health department.
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Is There A Hepatitis C Vaccine
Currently, no vaccine protects you against hepatitis C. But research is ongoing. A promising study is currently researching a possible vaccine for both hepatitis C and HIV.
However, there are vaccines for other hepatitis viruses, including hepatitis A and hepatitis B. If you have hepatitis C, your doctor may suggest that you get these vaccines. Thats because hepatitis A or B infection can lead to further complications when treating hepatitis C.
Preventing other forms of hepatitis is especially important if your liver has already been damaged.
Hepatitis B Vaccine: What To Know To Protect Yourself
Topics in this Post
Hepatitis is inflammation in the liver caused by specific viruses. The hepatitis viruses are referred to as types A, B, C, D and E. All types affect the liver, but they differ in illness severity and prevention options.
In the U.S., the most common forms are hepatitis A, hepatitis B and hepatitis C.
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What Is Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is a viral infection that causes inflammation and damage to the liver. You can have a short-term infection that your bodys immune system fights off. This is called an acute infection. However, in about 70% of cases, the immune system is unable to fight off the infection, and the infection becomes long-term, called chronic hepatitis C. Chronic hepatitis C can lead to cirrhosis of the liver, liver failure and liver cancer.
Why Should I Vaccinate My Newborn Child If I Know That I Am Not Infected With Hepatitis B Virus
Before the hepatitis B vaccine, every year in the United States about 18,000 children were infected with hepatitis B virus by the time they were 10 years old. This statistic is especially important because people are much more likely to develop liver cancer or cirrhosis if they are infected early in life, rather than later in life .
About 9,000 of the 18,000 children infected in the first 10 years of life caught the virus from their mother during birth. However, many young children didn’t catch the disease from their mother. They caught it from either another family member or someone else who came in contact with the child. Because hepatitis B can be transmitted by relatively casual contact with items contaminated with the blood of an infected person, and because many people who are infected with hepatitis B virus don’t know that they have it, it is virtually impossible to be “careful enough” to avoid this infection.
For these reasons, all young children are recommended to receive the hepatitis B vaccine. The best time to receive the first dose is right after birth. This will ensure that the child will be protected as early as possible from catching hepatitis B from people who dont know that they are infected with the virus.
Listen to Dr. Offit explain why newborns get the hepatitis B vaccine by watching this short video, part of the series Talking About Vaccines with Dr. Paul Offit.
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Who Should Receive Hepatitis B Vaccination
- All newborns before hospital discharge. Infants born to hepatitis B-positive women need hepatitis B vaccine and HBIG within 12 hours of birth.
- All children and adolescents not previously vaccinated.
- Children born in the U.S. to individuals born in a country with high hepatitis B endemicity.
- All individuals at risk of hepatitis B infection:
- Sex partners of hepatitis B-positive persons.
- Sexually active persons who are not in a long-term, mutually monogamous relationship .
- Persons seeking evaluation or treatment for a sexually-transmitted disease.
- Men who have sex with men.
- Persons who inject drugs.
- Household contacts of hepatitis B-positive persons.
- Persons born in countries where hepatitis B infection is endemic should be tested and vaccinated if susceptible.
- International travelers to regions with high or intermediate rates of endemic hepatitis B infection.
- Health care and public safety workers that may be exposed to blood or blood-contaminated body fluids.
- Residents and staff of facilities for developmentally disabled persons, corrections facilities, and other facilities that serve adults at risk for hepatitis B infection.
- Persons with end-stage renal disease, including pre-dialysis, hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis, and home dialysis patients.
- Persons with chronic liver disease.
- Persons to age 60 years with diabetes.
- Persons with HIV infection.
When The Hepatitis B Virus Becomes Chronic It Can Increase The Risk Of Developing:
- Lifelong infection
- Cirrhosis, or scarring, of the liver
The risk of the infection becoming chronic increases the younger people are when they are infected with hepatitis B, particularly newborns or children under 5.
Although there is no cure for hepatitis B, getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent it.
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Dose And Administration Of Hepatitis A Vaccine
The HepA vaccine dose is 0.5 mL IM up to age 18 years or 1 mL IM for adults .
Children are given a 2-dose series typically at age 12 to 23 months and 6 to 18 months after the first dose.
Depending on the manufacturer, adults are given the vaccine in a 2-dose series at 0 and 6 to 12 months or 0 and 6 to 18 months .
Or adults may be given the combination HepA and HepB vaccine on a 3-dose schedule: at 0, 1, and 6 months. The first and second doses should be separated by 4 weeks, and the second and third doses should be separated by 5 months. Alternatively, the vaccine may be given on an accelerated 4-dose schedule: on days 0, 7, and 21 to 30, followed by a booster 12 months after the first dose.
As soon as an adoption of a child from an endemic area is planned, close contacts should be given the first dose of the 2-dose HepA vaccine series, ideally 2 weeks before the adopted child arrives.
For Adults And Children
This vaccine schedule involves three doses within 2 months, followed by a booster dose at 1 year.
The initial accelerated doses provide immediate protection from HBV, and the booster dose helps provide long-term protection.
Below is the accelerated vaccination schedule approved for both adults and children:
|2 months after the first dose||1 year after the first dose|
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How Is Hepatitis Contracted
There are various ways of contracting hepatitis, depending on the type. Contracting a viral form of hepatitis depends on the mode of transmission, which the table above shows.
A person may sometimes contract hepatitis nonvirally. In autoimmune hepatitis, the immune system attacks the liver cells. Ingesting substances that contain toxins, such as alcohol, can also induce some types of hepatitis.
A doctor may use a blood test to diagnose viral hepatitis.
A healthcare professional will check a persons blood for:
- HAV-specific immunoglobulin G antibodies to diagnose HAV
- the surface antigen HBsAg to diagnose HBV
- anti-HCV antibodies to diagnose HCV
- high immunoglobulin G and anti-HDV immunoglobulin M levels to diagnose HDV
- virusspecific IgM antibodies to identify HEV
To autoimmune hepatitis, a doctor may consider:
Do The Benefits Of The Hepatitis B Vaccine Outweigh Its Risks
Every year in the United States about 2,000 people die following an overwhelming hepatitis B virus infection. In addition, every year about 22,000 people are infected with hepatitis B. Some of them will remain chronically infected, putting them at high risk of the long-term consequences of hepatitis B virus infection: cirrhosis and liver cancer. In fact, with the exception of influenza and COVID-19 viruses, hepatitis B virus causes more severe disease and death in the United States than any other vaccine-preventable disease. On the other hand, the hepatitis B vaccine is an extremely rare cause of a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. To date, no one has died from this reaction, but it is theoretically possible that this could occur.
Because hepatitis B virus is a common cause of severe disease and death in the United States, and because the hepatitis B vaccine does not cause permanent damage or death, the benefits of the hepatitis B vaccine clearly outweigh its risks.
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Hepatitis A And B: Diseases Of The Liver
Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver, most often caused by a viral infection. There are three common types of hepatitis caused by viruses: hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C. Vaccines have been developed that protect people from contracting hepatitis A and B. There is no vaccine for hepatitis C.
Over the last 20 years, there has been a 90% decrease in cases of hepatitis A and an 80% decrease in hepatitis B cases in the U.S. Health experts believe that immunization efforts have led to this drop in rates of infection.
How Will A Hepatitis C Vaccine Work
Overall, vaccines work by introducing your immune system to a microbe. In the case of viruses, this can be in the form of a whole virus or just a single component of a virus, such as a protein.
To date, many different are in development. These use many different vaccine technologies to present HCV proteins to your immune system. Some examples include:
- Recombinant proteins. These consist of purified viral proteins.
- Virus-like particles. These particles contain the outside proteins of HCV, but dont have any genetic material inside.
- DNA. This is genetic material that can provide instructions on how to make an HCV protein. The protein will then be displayed on the cells surface.
- Viral vectors. These contain genetic material inside of a harmless virus. The genetic material gives your cells instructions on how to make an HCV protein, which will be displayed on the cells surface.
With the ongoing success of the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines, its also possible that researchers will develop new vaccine candidates using this technology as well.
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