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Hepatitis B Vaccine

By

Margot L. Savoy

, MD, MPH, Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University

Last full review/revision Jun 2021| Content last modified Jun 2021
CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSONAL VERSION

Generally, hepatitis B is more serious than hepatitis A Hepatitis A Acute hepatitis A is inflammation of the liver that is caused by the hepatitis A virus and that lasts less than 6 months. Hepatitis A is usually spread when people ingest something that has... read more and is occasionally fatal. Symptoms can be mild or severe. They include decreased appetite, nausea, and fatigue. In 5 to 10% of people, hepatitis B becomes chronic and can lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer.

For more information, see the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Hepatitis B vaccine information statement.

Administration of Hepatitis B Vaccine

The hepatitis B vaccine is typically given in a series of two or three injections into a muscle. However, if people who have been vaccinated are exposed to the virus, a doctor measures their antibody levels against hepatitis B. If the antibody levels are low, they may need another injection of hepatitis B vaccine.

As a part of routine childhood vaccination Childhood Vaccination Schedule Most doctors follow the vaccination schedule recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC—see the schedule for infants and children and the schedule for older children... read more , all children are typically given three doses: at birth, at age 1 to 2 months, and at 6 to 18 months. Infants who did not receive a dose at birth should begin the series as soon as possible.

The hepatitis B vaccine also is recommended for older children and adolescents who were not previously vaccinated. The vaccine can be given to any unvaccinated adult who wants to be protected from hepatitis B.

The vaccine is also recommended for all unvaccinated adults who are at increased risk of getting hepatitis B, such as the following:

If people have a temporary illness, doctors usually wait to give the vaccine until the illness resolves (see also CDC: Who Should NOT Get Vaccinated With These Vaccines?).

Side Effects of Hepatitis B Vaccine

Occasionally, the injection site becomes sore, and a mild fever develops.

People with a history of severe allergic reaction to baker’s yeast, which is used in the production of the hepatitis B vaccine, should not be given the vaccine.

More Information

The following are some English-language resources that may be useful. Please note that THE MANUAL is not responsible for the content of these resources.

NOTE: This is the Consumer Version. DOCTORS: CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSONAL VERSION
CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSONAL VERSION
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