For Adults At High Risk Of Exposure
Adults who have not received the hepatitis B vaccine series should be immunized when they have an increased risk of exposure. Job, travel, health condition, or lifestyle all may increase a person’s risk of contracting hepatitis B.
People who live or work where there is risk of exposure include:
- Health care and public safety workers who are likely to be exposed to blood or blood products.
- Clients and staff of institutions or residential settings with known or potential HBV carriers.
- People planning extended travel to China, Southeast Asia, Africa, and other areas where hepatitis B infection is high.
People who have health conditions that put them at high risk for exposure or a severe infection include:
- People who have a severe kidney disease that requires them to have their blood filtered through a machine .
- People who have chronic liver disease.
- People who have hemophilia and other conditions in which they need to have blood products on an ongoing basis.
- People who had a stem cell transplant.
People whose lifestyle puts them at high risk for exposure include:
- People who inject illegal drugs.
- Men who have sex with men.
- People who have had more than one sex partner in the past 6 months or who have a history of sexually transmitted infection.
- Household contacts and sex partners of hepatitis B carriers.
- Prison inmates.
Immunisation Against Hepatitis B
The current Australia-wide immunisation program is necessary to protect all children from hepatitis B infection.
A full course of hepatitis B injections must be given for a child to be protected. It is recommended that this course begins within 24 hours of birth with a vaccine against hepatitis B alone. Further doses are routinely given at 2 months, 4 months and 6 months, as a combination vaccine.
Immunisation is the best protection against hepatitis B infection. In Victoria a free hepatitis B vaccine is available for a number of groups at high risk, including men who have sex with men, and people living with HIV.
The adult course involves 3 doses of the vaccine over 6 months and gives protection to about 95 per cent of people. Once you have had the 3 doses, you can have a blood test to see if you are protected.
How Can I Prevent Spreading Hepatitis B To Others
If you have hepatitis B, follow the steps above to avoid spreading the infection. Your sex partners should get a hepatitis B test and, if they arent infected, get the hepatitis B vaccine. You can protect others from getting infected by telling your doctor, dentist, and other health care professionals that you have hepatitis B. Dont donate blood or blood products, semen, organs, or tissue.
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Hepatitis B Vaccination In Pregnancy
Hepatitis B infection in pregnant women may result in severe disease for the mother and chronic infection for the baby. This is why the hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for pregnant women who are in a high-risk category.
There’s no evidence of any risk from vaccinating pregnant or breastfeeding women against hepatitis B. And, as it’s an inactivated vaccine, the risk to the unborn baby is likely to be negligible .
Support Introduction Of Hepatitis B Birth Dose Vaccination
- Contribute to the global hepatitis B birth dose introduction guidelines.external icon
- Compile evidence on the burden of hepatitis B infection among pregnant women and estimate the risk of mother-to-child transmission in African countries without a hepatitis B birth dose to inform decision-makers why a hepatitis B vaccine for newborns is needed.
- Support subnational introduction of hepatitis B birth dose vaccination in Ethiopia to inform national scale up and costing.
- Participate in post-introduction assessments of hepatitis B birth dose vaccination to improve program performance and prevent hepatitis B infections.
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What Is Hepatitis B Vaccine
Hepatitis B vaccine gives protection against infection from the hepatitis B virus. The vaccine works by causing the body to produce antibodies against the virus responsible for hepatitis B infection and in this way protects against the disease. Hepatitis B is a virus that is easily spread through contact with the blood or bodily fluids of an infected person. For example, it can be passed on through unprotected sex, by sharing injection gear, through a needle stick injury or from mother to child during childbirth. Hepatitis B infection can cause serious problems including liver failure, cirrhosis, and liver cancer. Preventing infection can prevent these problems. Read more about hepatitis B.
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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What Causes Hepatitis B
The hepatitis B virus causes hepatitis B. The hepatitis B virus spreads through contact with an infected persons blood, semen, or other body fluids. Contact can occur by
- being born to a mother with hepatitis B
- having unprotected sex with an infected person
- sharing drug needles or other drug materials with an infected person
- getting an accidental stick with a needle that was used on an infected person
- being tattooed or pierced with tools that were used on an infected person and werent properly sterilized, or cleaned in a way that destroys all viruses and other microbes
- having contact with the blood or open sores of an infected person
- using an infected persons razor, toothbrush, or nail clippers
You cant get hepatitis B from
- being coughed on or sneezed on by an infected person
- drinking unclean water or untreated water that has not been boiled
- eating food that is unclean or has not been properly cooked
- hugging an infected person
- shaking hands or holding hands with an infected person
- sharing spoons, forks, and other eating utensils
- sitting next to an infected person
Mothers who have hepatitis B can safely breastfeed their babies. If a baby receives hepatitis B immune globulin and starts receiving the hepatitis B vaccine to prevent hepatitis B infection shortly after birth, hepatitis B is unlikely to spread from mother to child through breastfeeding.15
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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Testing For Hepatitis B Surface Antibody Following Vaccine
Testing for anti-HBs routinely is not recommended. It is only advised in certain groups:
- People with chronic kidney disease on dialysis:
- The role of immunological memory in patients with chronic kidney disease on renal dialysis is not clear. Protection may persist only as long as anti-HBs levels remain above 10 mIU/mL.
- Antibody levels should be monitored annually and if they fall below 10 mIU/mL, a booster dose of vaccine should be given to patients who have previously responded to the vaccine.
- Booster doses should also be offered to any haemodialysis patients who are intending to travel to high-risk countries if they have previously responded to the vaccine, especially if they are to receive haemodialysis and have not received a booster in the preceding 12 months.
Who Should Get The Hepatitis A Vaccine
The CDC recommends that all children between ages 12 months and 23 months get this vaccine as well as for any infant aged 6 to 11 months who is traveling internationally.
The following people are also at risk for the disease and should be vaccinated:
- Children and teens through age 18 who live in states or communities that have made this vaccination routine because of a high rate of disease
- Men who have sex with men
- Anyone who uses illegal drugs
- People with chronic liver disease
- Anyone treated with blood clotting drugs, such as people with hemophilia
- People who work with HAV-infected primates or in HAV research laboratories.
- Travelers to countries where hepatitis A is common. A good source to check is the CDCâs travelersâ health website, which you can search by the country youâre going to.
- People adopting or close to a child adopted from a country where hepatitis A is common
You should not get the vaccine if you’re allergic to any ingredients in it or if you had a severe allergic reaction to an earlier dose of it. Tell your doctor or pharmacist about any allergies you have.
If you’re pregnant, let your doctor know. The safety of this vaccine for pregnant women is unknown, although the risk is considered to be very low.
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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.
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.
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How Safe Is The Hepatitis B Vaccine
The hepatitis B vaccine is totally safe for most people. Most babies, kids, and adults have no problems at all when they get the vaccine. In fact, more than 100 million people in the U.S. have gotten the hepatitis B vaccine.
Like all medicines, the hepatitis B vaccine may have some mild side effects: soreness, change in skin color, swelling, or itching around where you get the shot, or a slight fever. But these things arent serious and usually go away pretty quickly. Theres an extremely small risk of having an allergic reaction to the vaccine.
If you get dizzy, feel your heart beating really fast, have a high fever, feel weak, break out in hives, or have trouble breathing, get medical help right away. But again, the risk of having an allergy is super small.
You CANT get hepatitis from the hepatitis vaccine.
Is Hepatitis B Vaccine
- There are no adequate or well-controlled trials of hepatitis B vaccine use in pregnant women. Therefore, hepatitis B vaccine should be used during pregnancyonly if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.
- It is not known if the hepatitis B vaccine is excreted into human milk after administration to the mother. The manufacturer recommends caution when given to nursing mothers.
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How Do Doctors Treat Hepatitis B
Doctors typically dont treat hepatitis B unless it becomes chronic. Doctors may treat chronic hepatitis B with antiviral medicines that attack the virus.
Not everyone with chronic hepatitis B needs treatment. If blood tests show that hepatitis B could be damaging a persons liver, a doctor may prescribe antiviral medicines to lower the chances of liver damage and complications.
Medicines that you take by mouth include
A medicine that doctors can give as a shot is peginterferon alfa-2a .
The length of treatment varies. Hepatitis B medicines may cause side effects. Talk with your doctor about the side effects of treatment. Tell your doctor before taking any other prescription or over-the-counter medicines.
How Is This Vaccine Given
This vaccine is given as an injection into a muscle. You will receive this injection in a doctor’s office or other clinic setting.
The hepatitis A and B vaccine is given in a series of 3 shots. The booster shots are given 1 month and 6 months after the first shot.
If you have a high risk of hepatitis infection, you may be given 3 shots within 30 days, and a fourth shot 12 months after the first.
Your individual booster schedule may be different from these guidelines. Follow your doctor’s instructions or the schedule recommended by the health department of the state you live in.
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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.
Hepatitis B Vaccine The Other Cancer Prevention Vaccine
Anyone who follows or trolls my blog knows one thing I am a passionate supporter of the HPV anti-cancer vaccine, known as Gardasil. But I didnt want to ignore the hepatitis B vaccine, which is the other anti-cancer vaccine.
Recently, the CDC recommended a new hepatitis B vaccine for adults, and that prompted me to do something I havent really done talk about hepatitis B, liver cancer, and the hepatitis B vaccine. In some respects, hepatitis B is just as an important issue as HPV with respect to preventing cancer.
Remember, despite what you read on pseudoscience website or from anecdotes on the internet, there are really only a few ways to prevent cancer. Dont smoke. Dont drink alcohol. Stay out of the sun. Keep a very healthy weight. And get your HPV and hepatitis B vaccines.
Yes, getting these vaccines will be more useful to avoiding cancer than drinking delicious bananaalmond milk-blueberry smoothies. I know, that smoothie probably is more appetizing than getting poked by a sharp needle. It is possible that the smoothie could be part of a healthy diet which could contribute to maintaining a healthy weight. But it wont directly prevent cancer like the two vaccines.
As Ive mentioned many times, I think that Gardasil is one of the most hated vaccines that the CDC recommends. But to be honest, if you watch the anti-vaccine religion, you would know that the hepatitis B vaccine is way up there on the list of hatred.
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Hepatitis B Vaccine Complications
Adverse reactions to the vaccine are few and usually mild:
- There may be some soreness and erythema around the site. These are the most common reactions.
- Fatigue, malaise and influenza-like symptoms are rare.
- Rare associations with a Guillain-Barré-type syndrome and also multiple sclerosis have been reported but a causal relationship has not been substantiated.
HBIG is well tolerated. Reactions and side-effects are rare.
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.
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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 additional 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 GP or nurse is unable to offer you the hepatitis B vaccine because of a temporary shortage in supply, you may need to wait longer for the vaccine. For more information, read What to do if you have to wait for a dose of hepatitis B vaccine .
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.