Does Medicare Cover Other Types Of Hepatitis Vaccinations
There are five different types of hepatitis . There are vaccinations available only for hepatitis A and hepatitis B.
While Medicare covers hepatitis B vaccinations, it does not cover hepatitis A vaccinations.
Hepatitis B and C are the most common types of hepatitis. There is no vaccination against hepatitis C, but Medicare does cover screening for hepatitis C.
How Is Hepatitis B Transmitted
Hepatitis B is spread in several distinct ways: sexual contact sharing needles, syringes, or other drug-injection equipment or from mother-to-child at birth.
In the United States, in 2018, injection drug use was the most common risk factor reported among people with an acute HBV infection, followed by having multiple sex partners. Less commonly reported risk factors included accidental needle sticks, surgery, transfusions, and household contact with a person with HBV infection. In the United States, healthcare-related transmission of HBV is rare.
Mother-to-child transmission of HBV is especially concerning, because it is preventable. An estimated 25,000 infants are born to mothers diagnosed with HBV each year in the United States, and approximately 1,000 mothers transmit HBV to their infants. Without appropriate medical care and vaccinations, 90% of HBV-infected newborns will develop chronic infection, remaining infected throughout their lives. Up to 25% of people infected at birth will die prematurely of HBV-related causes. For this reason, the standard of care for pregnant women includes an HBV test during each pregnancy so that the appropriate steps can be taken to prevent HBV-positive mothers from transmitting the disease to her infant.
Which Adults Should Be Vaccinated Against Hepatitis B
According to CDC recommendations, adults in the following groups are recommended to receive hepatitis B vaccine:
- All people age 18 years and younger.
- Anyone 19 years and older who wants to be protected from hepatitis B.
People at risk for infection by sexual exposure
- Sex partners of people who are hepatitis B surface antigen -positive.
- Sexually active people who are not in long-term, mutually monogamous relationships.
- People seeking evaluation or treatment for a sexually transmitted disease.
- Men who have sex with men.
People at risk for infection by percutaneous or permucosal exposure to blood or body fluids
- Current or recent illegal injection drug users.
- Household contacts of people who are HBsAg-positive.
- Residents and staff of facilities for developmentally challenged people.
- Healthcare and public safety workers with reasonably anticipated risk for exposure to blood or blood-contaminated body fluids.
- People with end-stage renal disease, including predialysis, hemo-, peritoneal- and home-dialysis patients.
- International travelers to regions with intermediate or high levels of endemic HBV infection.
- People with chronic liver disease.
- People with HIV infection.
- People with diabetes who are age 19 through 59 years. For those age 60 and older, clinicians should make a determination of need for
- vaccination based on their patients’ situation.
In a future issue, we will review the various hepatitis B serologic tests, who needs testing, and when they need it .
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If I Already Have Hepatitis B Can The Vaccine Treat It
No. The hepatitis vaccine prevents hepatitis, but doesnt cure it if you already have it. If you have hepatitis B, there are other treatment options.
However, if you recently got exposed to the hepatitis B virus and you havent had the vaccine yet, tell your doctor right away. The vaccine and possibly other treatment can reduce your chances of getting hepatitis B if you get it within 2 weeks after you came into contact with the virus. The sooner you seek care after being exposed to hepatitis B, the better, so try to get there right away.
Rare Side Effects After Immunisation
There is a very small risk of a serious allergic reaction to any vaccine. This is why you are advised to stay at the clinic or medical surgery for at least 15 minutes following immunisation, in case further treatment is required.
If you think your child may be having a serious allergic reaction and you are no longer at the clinic where they were immunised, take them immediately to your doctor or to the nearest hospital, or call 000 for an ambulance.
Another rare side effect is the hypotonic-hyporesponsive episode . If they are experiencing HHE, a baby may be:
This may occur from one to 48 hours following vaccination. The whole episode may last from a few minutes to 36 hours.
If you think your child may be having an HHE episode, take them immediately to your doctor or to the nearest hospital.
Follow-up of children with HHE shows no long-term neurological or other side effects.
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Does The Hepatitis B Vaccine Have Side Effects
Some children will develop pain or soreness in the local area of the shot, and low-grade fever.
There is one extremely rare, but serious, side effect. About 1 out of every 600,000 doses of the hepatitis B vaccine will cause a severe allergic reaction, called anaphylaxis, with symptoms including swelling of the mouth, difficulty breathing, low blood pressure or shock. Anaphylaxis usually occurs within 15 minutes of receiving the vaccine. Although anaphylaxis can be treated, it is quite frightening. People should remain at the doctors office for about 15 minutes after getting the vaccine.
Although the hepatitis B vaccine is made in yeast cells, no one has ever been shown to be allergic to the yeast proteins contained in the hepatitis B vaccine .
Who Should Get The Hbv Vaccine
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that children should get their first hepatitis B vaccine at birth and complete the doses by 6 to 18 months of age. However, the HBV vaccine is still recommended for all children if they havent already gotten it, from infanthood up to 19 years old. Most U.S. states require a hepatitis B vaccine for school admittance, however.
Its also recommended for adults at an increased risk of catching the HBV infection, or anyone who fears they have or will be exposed to it in the near future.
The HBV vaccine is even safe to administer to pregnant women.
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Why Is The Hepb Vaccine Recommended
People who dont know they’re infected can spread the hepatitis B virus. So it cant be avoided just by being careful. That’s why health experts recommend that all babies get the vaccine right from birth.
The HepB injection usually creates long-term immunity. Most infants who get the HepB series are protected from hepatitis B infection beyond childhood, into their adult years.
Eliminating the risk of infection also decreases risk for cirrhosis of the liver, chronic liver disease, and liver cancer.
Immunisation Against Hepatitis B For Children
Immunisation is the best protection against hepatitis B infection and is recommended for all infants and young children, adolescents and those in high-risk groups. Immunisation can be with a vaccine against hepatitis B alone or with a combination vaccine.
Protection against hepatitis B is available free of charge under the National Immunisation Program Schedule.
In Victoria, immunisation against hepatitis B is free for all babies and children including:
- Babies at birth immunisation against hepatitis B alone as soon as possible after birth.
- Babies at 2, 4 and 6 months immunisation in the form of a diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B, polio and Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccine .
- Premature babies at 12 months premature babies born under 32 weeks gestation or under 2,000g birth weight receive a single booster dose.
- Children up to and including 9 years of age.
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What Other Drugs Will Affect Hepatitis A And B Vaccine
Before receiving this vaccine, tell the doctor about all other vaccines you have recently received.
Also tell the doctor if you have recently received drugs or treatments that can weaken the immune system, including:
an oral, nasal, inhaled, or injectable steroid medicine
medicines to treat or prevent organ transplant rejection.
If you are using any of these medications, you may not be able to receive the vaccine, or may need to wait until the other treatments are finished.
This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with hepatitis A and B vaccine, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.
When To Delay Or Avoid Hepb Immunization
Doctors delay giving the vaccine to babies who weigh less than 4 pounds, 7 ounces at birth whose mothers do not have the virus in their blood. The baby will get the first dose at 1 month of age or when the baby is discharged from the hospital.
The vaccine is not recommended if your child:
- is currently sick, although simple colds or other minor illnesses should not prevent immunization
- had a serious allergic reaction after an earlier dose of the vaccine or is allergic to baker’s yeast
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Persons With Inadequate Immunization Records
Evidence of long term protection against HB has only been demonstrated in individuals who have been vaccinated according to a recommended immunization schedule. Independent of their anti-HBs titres, children and adults lacking adequate documentation of immunization should be considered susceptible and started on an immunization schedule appropriate for their age and risk factors. Refer to Immunization of Persons with Inadequate Immunization Records in Part 3 for additional information.
More Information On Side Effects
Reactions listed under âpossible side effectsâ or âadverse eventsâ on vaccine product information sheets may not all be directly linked to the vaccine. See Vaccine side effects and adverse reactions for more information on why this is the case.
If you are concerned about any reactions that occur after vaccination, consult your doctor. In the UK you can report suspected vaccine side effects to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency through the Yellow Card Scheme
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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 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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What Is Hepatitis A And B Vaccine
Hepatitis A and B are serious diseases caused by virus.
Hepatitis A is spread through contact with the stool of a person infected with the hepatitis A virus. This usually occurs by eating food or drinking water that has become contaminated as a result of handling by an infected person.
Hepatitis B is spread through blood or bodily fluids, sexual contact or sharing IV drug needles with an infected person, or during childbirth when a baby is born to a mother who is infected.
The hepatitis A and B vaccine is used to help prevent these diseases in adults. The vaccine works by exposing you to a small dose of the virus, which causes the body to develop immunity to the disease. This vaccine will not treat an active infection that has already developed in the body.
This vaccine is recommended for adults with risk factors for getting hepatitis A or B, including:
Like any vaccine, the hepatitis A and B vaccine may not provide protection from disease in every person.
Managing Fever After Immunisation
Common side effects following immunisation are usually mild and temporary . Specific treatment is not usually required.
There are a number of treatment options that can reduce the side effects of the vaccine such as giving extra fluids to drink and not overdressing if there is a fever.
Although routine use of paracetamol after vaccination is not recommended, if fever is present, paracetamol can be given check the label for the correct dose or speak with your pharmacist, especially when giving paracetamol to children.
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Is It Okay To Get An Extra Dose Of Hepatitis B Vaccine
Yes. Although extra doses of vaccine are not recommended, you can think of the extra dose as another chance for the immune system to see the hepatitis B virus. A vaccine is not the only time the immune system will see the virus or bacteria contained in it. People may be exposed to the virus or bacteria at school or the store or when visiting family or friends. An extra dose of vaccine is like one more exposure, except the difference is that the virus or bacteria in any vaccine has been made safe, so it wont make you ill.
Should You Get The Hepatitis B Vaccine
You may need the vaccination against hepatitis B if you have not previously been vaccinated against hepatitis B AND you have any of the following reasons for receiving the vaccination:
- Chronic hepatitis C
- Liver cirrhosis or liver fibrosis
- Other chronic liver disease
- Awaiting or received liver transplant
- Findings consistent with liver disease
- HIV infection
- Use of injection drugs currently or in the past
- Have a sex partner who has hepatitis B
- Have had more than one sex partner in the past 6 months
- Men who have sex with men
- Travel to countries with high or intermediate rates of hepatitis B infection
- Reside or work in a prison or correctional facility
- People with end-stage renal disease including patients receiving dialysis
- People who are seeking evaluation or treatment for a sexually transmitted disease
- Work in a high-risk profession with reasonable anticipation of risk of exposure to blood or body fluids, such as:
- Health care centers
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When To Talk To Your Doctor
You may not realize that you’ve come in contact with hepatitis B or C because oftentimes there aren’t any symptoms. You should get tested if you’ve been in any situation that presents a risk of infection, like sharing needles. The CDC also recommends that all pregnant women get tested for hepatitis C.
Some people can be allergic to the hepatitis B vaccine, so you should also see your doctor if you experience any bad reactions after getting one of the doses.
Hiv And Hbv Coinfection
About 2% of people with HIV in the United States are coinfected with HBV both infections have similar routes of transmission. People with HIV are at greater risk for complications and death from HBV infection. All people with HIV are recommended to be tested for HBV, and if susceptible, are further recommended to receive the hepatitis B vaccination or, if chronically infected, evaluated for treatment to prevent liver disease and liver cancer. For more information about HIV and HBV coinfection, visit HIV.govâs pages about hepatitis B and HIV coinfection.
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Recommended Adult Dosing Volume Of Monovalent Hepatitis B Vaccine
- Age 19 years and younger: Use 0.5 mL per dose .
- Age 20 years and older: 1.0 mL per dose .
For a one-page sheet reviewing the hepatitis B dosing schedule for children and adults, consult IACs Hepatitis A and B Vaccines: Be Sure Your Patients Get the Correct Dose. For complete dosing information, consult the ACIP hepatitis B vaccine recommendations for adults.
How Many People Have Hepatitis B
In the United States, an estimated 862,000 people were chronically infected with HBV in 2016. New cases of HBV infection in the United States had been decreasing until 2012. Since that time, reported cases of acute hepatitis B have been fluctuating around 3,000 cases per year. In 2018, 3,322 cases of acute hepatitis B were reported however, because of low case detection and reporting, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that there were 21,600 acute hepatitis B infections. New HBV infections are likely linked to the ongoing opioid crisis in the United States.
Globally, HBV is the most common blood-borne infection with an estimated 257 million people infected according to the World Health Organization .
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