Why Should My Baby Get The Hepatitis B Shot
- Protects your child from against hepatitis B, a potentially serious disease.
- Protects other people from the disease because children with hepatitis B usually dont have symptoms, but they may pass the disease to others without anyone knowing they were infected.
- Prevents your child from developing liver disease and cancer from hepatitis B.
- Keeps your child from missing school or child care and you from missing work.
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.
Moving To Another Country
If you are moving abroad before your baby is one year old, please let your GP know and dont forget to register your baby with a new family doctor in your new country of residence.
Take your babys Red Book with you and make sure your baby receives all of the doses of hepatitis B vaccines on time and has a blood test at 12 months old.
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Implementing A Birth Dose Of Hepatitis B Vaccine In Africa: Findings From Assessments In 5 Countries
Edna Moturi1, Carole Tevi-Benissan1*, José E. Hagan2, Stephanie Shendale3, David Mayenga1, Daniel Murokora1, Minal Patel2, Karen Hennessey3, Richard Mihigo1
1World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa, Brazzaville, Republic of Congo
2Global Immunization Division, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA
3World Health Organization, Expanded Programme on Immunization, Geneva, Switzerland
Introduction: Few African countries have introduced a birth dose of hepatitis B vaccine despite a World Health Organization recommendation. HepB-BD given within 24 hours of birth, followed by at least two subsequent doses, is 90% effective in preventing perinatal transmission of hepatitis B virus. This article describes findings from assessments conducted to document the knowledge, attitudes, and practices surrounding HepB-BD implementation among healthcare workers in five African countries.
Methods: Between August 2015 and November 2016, a series of knowledge, attitude and practices assessments were conducted in a convenience sample of public and private health facilities in Botswana, the Gambia, Namibia, Nigeria, and São Tomé and Príncipe . Data were collected from immunization and maternity staff through interviewer-administered questionnaires focusing on HepB-BD vaccination knowledge, practices and barriers, including those related to home births. HepB-BD coverage was calculated for each visited facility.
What Are The Side Effects
The most common of the hepatitis B vaccine are mild and include:
- Sore arm from the shot.
Prepare for your child’s vaccine visit and learn about how you can:
- Research vaccines and ready your child before the visit
- Comfort your child during the appointment
- Care for your child after the shot
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What If A Dose Was Given Too Early
A dose can be counted as valid as long as the minimum intervals are met, as described above for hepatitis B vaccine. Keep in mind the additional guidance that an infant should not receive the last dose in the series earlier than 24 weeks of age. In general, CDC allows a four-day “grace period” for vaccines, i.e., vaccine doses administered up to four days before the minimum interval or age can be counted as valid. If a dose was administered five or more days earlier than the recommended minimum interval between doses, it is not valid and should be repeated. The repeat dose should be spaced after the invalid dose by an interval at least equal to the recommended minimum interval.
Protecting Your Baby Through Vaccination
Infants born to people with hepatitis B must receive accurate doses of hepatitis B vaccine and hepatitis B immune globulin to ensure complete protection. In order to protect these infants, medications should be given immediately after birth in the delivery room or within the first 12-24 hours of life*.
* See Testing and Treatment During Pregnancy section for details. Please note that testing of all pregnant people for hepatitis B is a global recommendation.
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Immunisation Against Hepatitis B For People At Risk
In Victoria free hepatitis B vaccine is provided for people who are at increased risk, including:
- Men who have sex with men.
- People living with HIV.
- People living with hepatitis C.
- People no longer in a custodial setting who commenced, but did not complete, a free vaccine course while in custody.
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
- People born in priority hepatitis B endemic countries who arrived in Australia in the last 10 years priority countries include China, Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Thailand, South Korea, Myanmar , Indonesia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Cambodia.
- Vulnerable citizens people who have experienced hardship that prevented them from accessing the vaccine earlier. Vulnerable citizens are vaccinated based on an individual assessment by an immunisation provider.
Immunisation is also recommended, but not free, for people who are at increased risk including:
If you think you have been exposed to hepatitis B, see a doctor immediately. Your doctor can give you treatment that, in some instances, can greatly reduce your risk of infection with hepatitis B.
Remember that being immunised against hepatitis B does not protect you against HIV, hepatitis C or other diseases spread by blood or bodily fluids. It is important that you take precautions to make sure you are not exposed to these diseases.
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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Testing Your Baby For Infection
Each year, a very small number of babies may develop infection so your baby will be offered a blood test when they are 1 years old. This is to check that the course of vaccines have prevented them from developing hepatitis B.
There are 2 ways that this may be done and your GP, health visitor or practice nurse will advise you which test your baby will have:
If they do have the infection, they will be referred to a specialist for treatment to reduce their risk of developingserious liver disease.
If a young infant is infected, they are more likely to develop long lasting infection without any signs or symptoms of infection. Even if your baby has no signs or symptoms of infection they should still have the blood test.
Infection can be prevented in 90% of cases if the first dose of vaccine is given at birth and the full course of vaccines is completed on time.
Hepatitis B Vaccine Can Protect Your Baby
A complete course of 6 doses of vaccines is needed to fully protect your baby against long lasting hepatitis B infection. The vaccine is given as a small injection into the thigh.
Your midwife will know that your baby should have the first dose of hepatitis B vaccine within 24 hours of birth.
Your baby may also need hepatitis B immunoglobulin at the same time as their birth dose of vaccine, if there is a higher risk of infection. Your midwife will tell you if it is needed. HBIG is also given as a single injection in the thigh.
The second dose of single hepatitis B vaccine needs to be given at 4 weeks of age.
The next 3 doses of hepatitis B containing vaccine are routinely given to all babies at 8, 12 and 16 weeks old. These also protect against other serious infections including diphtheria, tetanus, polio, whooping cough and haemophilus influenzae type B.
Your babys final dose of single hepatitis B vaccine should be given when they reach 1 year of age. This dose can be given at the same time as their other routine vaccines.
If you are not able to attend any of the appointments, please let your GP know as soon as possible so that anotherappointment can be arranged.
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Does Hepatitis B Go Away
In most cases, hepatitis B goes away on its own. You can relieve your symptoms at home by resting, eating healthy foods, drinking plenty of water, and avoiding alcohol and drugs. Also, find out from your doctor what medicines and herbal products to avoid, because some can make liver damage caused by hepatitis B worse.
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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General Information About Vaccination Outside The Us
In developing countries, the pentavalent vaccine, a combination 5-in-one vaccine that protects against five diseases, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, Hib and hepatitis B, may be given to babies more than 6 weeks of age, and can be given up to 1 year of age. The first dose is given at 6 weeks, and the second and third doses are given at 10 and 14 weeks of age. The pentavalent vaccine may be made available free of charge with the support of GAVI, the vaccine alliance. Check the GAVI country hub to see the resources and immunizations that may be available:
For babies born to mothers with hepatitis B, waiting for the first dose of the pentavalent vaccine is too late and will NOT protect the baby from vertical or horizontal transmission of hepatitis B. Babies born to a mother with hepatitis B have a greater than 90% chance of developing chronic hepatitis B if they are not properly treated at birth.
WHO recommends the hepatitis B vaccine within 24 hours of birth for ALL babies. Plan ahead and inquire about the availability and cost of the monovalent , birth dose of the vaccine, as it is not a GAVI provided immunization. This is particularly important to women who are positive for hepatitis B.
If you are unsure of your hepatitis B status, please be sure your doctor tests you for hepatitis B!
*WHO does not recommend a birth dose of HBIG, which may not be available in all countries. Talk to your doctor if you have questions.
Page updated September 2022.
Important Information About Vaccine And Hepatitis B Immunoglobulin Shot Administration
Where available, the hepatitis B birth-dose and HBIG should be administered within 24 hours of birth in order to prevent the transmission of hepatitis B from mother to child. It is very important that the shots be given in opposite limbs, to ensure the highest effectiveness. Please see chart above for more information.
A Look At Each Vaccine: Hepatitis B Vaccine
View larger image The hepatitis B vaccine is given to prevent the severe liver disease that can develop when children or adults are infected with hepatitis B virus. The hepatitis B vaccine is given as a series of three shots. The first dose is given within 24 hours of birth. The second dose is given one to two months after the first dose, and the third dose is given between 6 months and 18 months of age. The vaccine is also recommended for those up to 60 years of age who have not previously received it and those 60 years and older who are at increased risk or who simply want the protection afforded by vaccination.
Concerns About Immunisation Side Effects
If the side effect following immunisation is unexpected, persistent or severe, or if you are worried about yourself or your child’s condition after a vaccination, see your doctor or immunisation nurse as soon as possible or go directly to a hospital.
It is important to seek medical advice if you are unwell, as this may be due to other illness, rather than because of the vaccination.
Immunisation side effects may be reported to SAEFVIC, the Victorian vaccine safety and reporting service. Discuss with your immunisation provider how to report adverse events in other states or territories.
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Infants Born To Mothers Who Have Hepatitis B: Hepatitis B Vaccine Schedules
*Please note that the first dose should be given as soon as possible. Additional doses require minimum time intervals between doses in order for the vaccine to be effective.
Protecting Your Baby
Infants born to women with hepatitis B must receive accurate doses of hepatitis B vaccine and hepatitis B immune globulin to ensure complete protection. In order to protect these infants, medications should be given immediately after birth in the delivery room or within the first 12-24 hours of life*.
* See Testing and Treatment During Pregnancy section for details. Please note that testing of all pregnant women for hepatitis B is a global recommendation.
3-Dose Vaccine Series for Infants
The World Health Organization recommends that infants born to hepatitis B positive mothers receive the first dose of the hepatitis B vaccine within 24 hours of birth, and ideally a dose of hepatitis B immunoglobulin . These shots must be followed by the additional vaccine doses given on the recommended schedule. In the U.S., infants should follow a 1 month and 6-month schedule for the additional two doses.
4-Dose Combination Vaccine Series for Infants
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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Who Should Receive The Hepatitis B Vaccine
For most people, the hepatitis B vaccine is safe and effective. About 90% of people who receive three vaccine doses are protected against hepatitis B for over 30 years.
The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends the hepatitis B vaccine for the following groups:
- All babies, starting just after birth
- Children and adolescents under 19 years old
- Adults ages 1959 who have not previously completed vaccination
- Adults ages 60 and over with a high risk of contracting HBV
Adults ages 60 and over who do not have any hepatitis B risk factors can receive the hepatitis B vaccine, but it is optional.
Hepatitis B spreads when the bodily fluids of an infected person enter another person’s body. Sexual contact is one way it can be spread. A person with HBV can spread it to their baby during childbirth. Other ways in which HBV may be transmitted include:
- Sharing medical equipment, whether at home or in a hospital setting, with a person who has an HBV infection
- Sharing syringes with a person who has hepatitis B, such as during injection drug use or at-home piercing or tattooing
- Sharing personal items, such as razors or toothbrushes, with someone who has hepatitis B
- Coming into contact with the sores or blood of a person who has hepatitis B
Who Should Not Receive The Hepatitis B Vaccine
Talk to your healthcare provider before getting the hepatitis B vaccine if:
- You have had a severe allergic reaction to the hepatitis B vaccine or any of its ingredients in the past.
- You have had an allergic reaction to yeast in the past.
- You are moderately or severely ill.
- You are currently taking immunosuppressive medications.
In addition, pregnant people should not receive the Heplisav-B or PreHevbrio vaccines until more safety information is available.
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Hepatitis B Vaccine On The Nhs
A hepatitis B-containing vaccine is provided for all babies born in the UK on or after 1 August 2017. This is given as part of the 6-in-1 vaccine.
Hospitals, GP surgeries and sexual health or GUM clinics usually provide the hepatitis B vaccination free of charge for anyone at risk of infection.
GPs are not obliged to provide the hepatitis B vaccine on the NHS if you’re not thought to be at risk.
GPs may charge for the hepatitis B vaccine if you want it as a travel vaccine, or they may refer you to a travel clinic for a private vaccination. The current cost of the vaccine is around £50 a dose.
Concurrent Administration Of Vaccines
HB-containing vaccines may be administered concomitantly with other vaccines or with HBIg. Different injection sites and separate needles and syringes must be used for concurrent parenteral injections.
Refer to Timing of Vaccine Administration in Part 1 for additional information about concurrent administration of vaccines.
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