Vaccine For Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B Vaccine
It takes only a few shots to protect yourself and your loved ones against hepatitis B for a lifetime.
The hepatitis B vaccine is a safe and effective vaccine that is recommended for all infants at birth and for children up to 18 years. The hepatitis B vaccine is also recommended for adults living with diabetes and those at high risk for infection due to their jobs, lifestyle, living situations, or country of birth. Since everyone is at some risk, all adults should seriously consider getting the hepatitis B vaccine for a lifetime protection against a preventable chronic liver disease.
The hepatitis B vaccine is also known as the first anti-cancer vaccine because it prevents hepatitis B, the leading cause of liver cancer worldwide.
You cannot get hepatitis B from the vaccine. All hepatitis B vaccines that have been used since 1986 are made synthetically meaning the hepatitis B vaccines do not contain any blood products. Learn more.
If you have a current HBV infection or have recovered from a past HBV infection, the hepatitis B vaccine series will not benefit you or clear the virus. However, the vaccine can provide a lifetime of protection for loved ones who do not have hepatitis B and get the vaccine as soon as possible. Testing is the only way to know if you or your loved ones have a current infection or have recovered from a past infection.
Hepatitis B Vaccine Recommendations
Three-Dose Hepatitis B Vaccine Schedule
What Are The Side Effects Of The Hepatitis B Vaccine
- Soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot was given
- Headache, tiredness, fever and loss of appetite
Severe problems :
Over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help ease pain and reduce fever.
It’s extremely rare for these vaccines to cause serious harm or death. If the person getting the vaccine has a serious reaction, call the doctor or seek immediate medical attention.
The hepatitis B vaccine is available at Walgreens Pharmacy. Ages vary by state.*
If you believe you have a medical emergency, please call 911.
Tell your doctor or a healthcare provider if the person getting the vaccine has any severe allergies.
Call the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at 800-232-4636 or visit www.cdc.gov/vaccines for more vaccine information.
Talk With Your Health Care Provider
Tell your vaccine provider if the person getting the vaccine:
- Has had an allergic reaction after a previous dose of hepatitis B vaccine, or has any severe, life-threatening allergies.
In some cases, your health care provider may decide to postpone hepatitis B vaccination to a future visit.
People with minor illnesses, such as a cold, may be vaccinated. People who are moderately or severely ill should usually wait until they recover before getting hepatitis B vaccine.
Your health care provider can give you more information.
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Common And Local Adverse Events
HB vaccine is well tolerated. Reactions are generally mild and transient, and include: irritability, headache, fatigue and injection site reactions in 10% or more of recipients.
There is no increase in adverse events when HAHB vaccine is compared with HA vaccine given alone or concomitantly with HB vaccine at a different injection site. When the adult formulation of HAHB vaccine is given to children in the 2 dose schedule, there is no increase in adverse events compared with those occurring after administration of the pediatric formulation of HAHB vaccine.
Reactions are usually mild and transient, and include fever, irritability, restlessness and injection site reactions .
Headache, diarrhea, fever, urticaria, angioedema and injection site reactions may occur.
Adults Recommended To Receive Hepb Vaccine:
- Persons at risk for infection by sexual exposure
- Sex partners of hepatitis B surface antigen positive persons
- Sexually active persons who are not in a long-term, mutually monogamous relationship
- Persons seeking evaluation or treatment for a sexually transmitted infection
- Men who have sex with men
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What Are The Possible Side Effects Of Hepatitis B Immunisation
All medicines and vaccines can have side effects. Sometimes they are serious, most of the time theyre not.
Generally, the chance of having a serious side effect from a vaccine is much lower than the chance of serious harm if you caught the disease.
Talk to your doctor about possible side effects of hepatitis B vaccines, or if you or your child have possible side effects that worry you.
Common side effects of hepatitis B vaccines include:
- soreness where the needle went in
- low-grade fever
- body aches.
The Consumer Medicine Information links in How do you get immunised against hepatitis B? list the side effects of each vaccine.
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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Complications Of Hepatitis B In Infants And Children
Mothers who are infected with hepatitis B can pass the virus to their children either through the womb or at the time of birth. Hepatitis B virus can also be spread through exposure of broken skin or mucous membranes to the blood or other body fluids of an infected person.
If newborn babies are quickly immunised with 2 vaccines, they can be protected from getting hepatitis B.
Many people who are infected with hepatitis B have no symptoms. Babies and children who are infected with hepatitis B are less likely than adults to have symptoms of infection, but are more likely to develop chronic hepatitis B.
A child who contracts chronic hepatitis B has an increased risk of developing liver disease and cancer later in life. A small proportion of adults who become infected with the hepatitis B virus develop a long-term hepatitis B infection.
Who Should Not Get The Hepatitis B Vaccine
- Anyone with a life-threatening allergy to baker’s yeast, or to any component of the vaccine should not get the hepatitis B vaccine. Tell your provider if you have any serious allergies.
- Anyone who has had a life-threatening allergic reaction to a previous dose of hepatitis B vaccine should not get another dose.
- Anyone who is moderately or severely ill should probably wait until they recover.
- Pregnant women who need protection from hepatitis B may be vaccinated, but should check with their doctor first.
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How Hepatitis Is Spread
Hepatitis A: About 20,000 people in the U.S. contract hepatitis A each year. The hepatitis A virus is found in the stool of the infected person. It is spread through contaminated food or water or by certain types of sexual contact.
Children who get hepatitis A often don’t have symptoms, so they can have the virus and not know it. However, they can still spread it easily. Fortunately, children are now routinely vaccinated against hepatitis A.
Most people who get hepatitis A recover completely within two weeks to six months and don’t have any liver damage. In rare cases, hepatitis A can cause liver failure and even death in older adults or people with underlying liver disease.
Hepatitis B: Every year, about 40,000 people in the U.S. become infected with hepatitis B. Acute hepatitis lasts from a few weeks to several months. Many infected people are able to clear the virus and remain virus-free after the acute stage. However, for others, the virus remains in the body, and they develop chronic hepatitis B infection, which is a serious, lifelong condition. About 1.2 million people in the U.S. have chronic hepatitis B. Of these, 15% to 25% will develop more serious health problems, such as liver damage, cirrhosis, liver failure, and liver cancer, and some people die as a result of hepatitis B-related disease.
What Are The Side Effects
Vaccines are very safe. It is much safer to get the vaccine than to get hepatitis B.
Many people have no side effects from the vaccine. However, for those that do, common side effects may include soreness, redness and swelling where the vaccine was given. Some may experience a mild fever.
It is important to stay in the clinic for 15 minutes after getting any vaccine because there is a very rare possibility, between one in 100,000 and one in a million, of a life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. This may include hives, difficulty breathing, or swelling of the throat, tongue or lips. Should this reaction occur, your health care provider is prepared to treat it. Emergency treatment includes administration of epinephrine and transfer by ambulance to the nearest emergency department. If symptoms develop after you leave the clinic, call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.
It is important to always report serious or unexpected reactions to your health care provider.
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What Hepatitis B Immunisation Involves
Full protection involves having 3 injections of the hepatitis B vaccine at the recommended intervals.
Babies born to mothers with hepatitis B infection will be given 6 doses of hepatitis B-containing vaccine to ensure long-lasting protection.
If you’re a healthcare worker or you have kidney failure, you’ll have a follow-up appointment to see if you’ve responded to the vaccine.
If you’ve been vaccinated by your employer’s occupational health service you can request a blood test to see if you’ve responded to 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 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.
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Hepatitis B Immunisation Service
Hepatitis B vaccines are given as a needle, either on their own or as a combination vaccine. They can be provided by a variety of recognised immunisation providers. If you’re eligible, you can get the hepatitis B vaccine for free under the National Immunisation Program .
Find information that will help you deliver your service to your patients
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.
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What Is Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B is a highly contagious, serious liver disease caused by the hepatitis B virus. It is spread through contact with the blood or other body fluids of an infected person, including contact with objects that could have blood or body fluids on them such as toothbrushes and razors. The hepatitis B virus can cause:
Acute illness, the symptoms of which are flu-like and include loss of appetite, tiredness, joint and muscle pain, diarrhea, vomiting and jaundice. Most adults who get hepatitis B have this acute form of hepatitis B, and then get better.
Chronic infection which can be very serious, and often leads to liver damage, liver cancer, or death. Babies and young children infected with hepatitis B are more likely to get this chronic form of the disease.
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.
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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.
Who Should Get Hepatitis Vaccinations
Since the vaccines were first developed, the hepatitis A and B vaccines have become part of the regular childhood immunization schedule. They are not considered a routine adult immunization.
“When we’re talking about adults, I would say yes, get the vaccine if they fit into one of these risk factors” says Poland. “If they don’t fit into the risk factors, their risk is so low that there’s no compelling reason to do it.”
People at risk for hepatitis A include:
- Anyone traveling to or working in areas where hepatitis A is more widespread.
- People whose work puts them in potential contact with hepatitis A, such as those who work with the hepatitis A virus in research labs
- People who are treated with clotting-factor concentrates
- People who have chronic liver disease
- People who use recreational drugs, injected or not
- Men who have sex with men
People at risk for hepatitis B include:
- Anyone traveling to or working in areas where hepatitis B is more widespread.
- Health care workers and other people whose job exposes them to human blood
- People with HIV infection, end-stage kidney disease, or chronic liver disease
- People who live with someone with hepatitis B
- People who inject street drugs
- Sexually active people who have had more than one partner
- Anyone who has had an STD
- Men who have sex with men
- Sex partners of people with hepatitis B
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Area Clinics Offer Free Hepatitis B Vaccinations
Anticipating the need to vaccinate 135,000 seventh-graders against potentially deadly hepatitis B, Los Angeles County health officials have begun a massive campaign to offer free vaccinations at county clinics.
Under a new state law that takes effect July 1, students cannot enter, advance to or repeat the seventh grade if they have not received the vaccine, which is given in three doses over a six-month period.
The immunization, offered free at county clinics, including at least seven in the San Fernando Valley, could cost more than $100 through private physicians.
The risks of developing are high, and when you get it, its such a horrible disease, said Dr. Akiko Kimura, medical director of the county immunization program. Theres no magic medicine. This is one of those cases where prevention is more important than the cure.
There is no cure for chronic hepatitis B, for which symptoms include vomiting, mild fever, fatigue, nausea, muscle and joint aches, and jaundice. The disease can cause cirrhosis, or painful swelling of the liver, liver cancer and death. Up to 25% of those infected develop serious chronic liver disease.
Kimura said that hepatitis B, which like HIV is spread through contact with infected bodily fluids, is 100 times more contagious than HIV. The hepatitis B virus can be transmitted through sexual activity with an infected person, sharing intravenous needles, blood-to-blood contact during sports, and by an infected mother to her infant, she said.