Who should get hepatitis A vaccine and when?
Some people should be routinely vaccinated with hepatitis A vaccine:
- All children between their ﬁrst and second birthdays (12 through 23 months of age).
- Anyone 1 year of age and older traveling to or working in countries with high or intermediate prevalence of hepatitis A, such as those located in Central or South America, Mexico, Asia (except Japan), Africa, and eastern Europe.
- Children and adolescents 2 through 18 years of age who live in states or communities where routine vaccination has been implemented because of high disease incidence.
- Men who have sex with men.
- People who use street drugs.
- People with chronic liver disease.
- People who are treated with clotting factor concentrates.
- People who work with HAV-infected primates or who work with HAV in research laboratories.
- Members of households planning to adopt a child, or care for a newly arriving adopted child, from a country where hepatitis A is common.
Other people might get hepatitis A vaccine in certain situations (ask your doctor for more details):
- Unvaccinated children or adolescents in communities where outbreaks of hepatitis A are occurring.
- Unvaccinated people who have been exposed to hepatitis A virus.
- Anyone 1 year of age or older who wants protection from hepatitis A.
- Hepatitis A vaccine is not licensed for children younger than 1 year of age.
- For children, the ﬁrst dose should be given at 12 through 23 months of age. Children who are not vaccinated by 2 years of age can be vaccinated at later visits.
- For others at risk, the hepatitis A vaccine series may be started whenever a person wishes to be protected or is at risk of infection.
- For travelers, it is best to start the vaccine series at least one month before traveling.(Some protection may still result if the vaccine is given on or closer to the travel date.)
- Two doses of the vaccine are needed for lasting protection. These doses should be given at least 6 months apart.
- Hepatitis A vaccine may be given at the same time as other vaccines.
Who should not get hepatitis A vaccine or should wait.
- Anyone who has ever had a severe (life threatening) allergic reaction to a previous dose of hepatitis A vaccine should not get another dose.
- Anyone who has a severe (life threatening) allergy to any vaccine component should not get the vaccine.
- Tell your doctor if you have any severe allergies, including a severe allergy to latex. All hepatitis A vaccines contain alum, and some hepatitis A vaccines contain 2-phenoxyethanol.
- Anyone who is moderately or severely ill at the time the shot is scheduled should probably wait until they recover. Ask your doctor. People with a mild illness can usually get the vaccine.
- Tell your doctor if you are pregnant. Because hepatitis A vaccine is inactivated (killed), the risk to a pregnant woman or her unborn baby is believed to be very low.
But your doctor can weigh any theoretical risk from the vaccine against the need for protection.
What are the risks from hepatitis A vaccine?
A vaccine, like any medicine, could possibly cause serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions. The risk of hepatitis A vaccine causing serious harm, or death, is extremely small.
Getting hepatitis A vaccine is much safer than getting the disease.
- Soreness where the shot was given (about 1 out of 2 adults and up to 1 out of 6 children)
- Headache (about 1 out of 6 adults and 1 out of 25 children)
- Loss of appetite (about 1 out of 12 children)
- Tiredness (about 1 out of 14 adults)
If these problems occur, they usually last 1 or 2 days.
• Serious allergic reaction, within a few minutes to a few hours after the shot (very rare).
What if there is a moderate or severe reaction?
What should I look for?
• Any unusual condition, such as a high fever or unusual behavior. Signs of a serious allergic reaction can include difﬁculty breathing, hoarseness or wheezing, hives, paleness, weakness, a fast heart beat or dizziness.
What should I do?
• Call a doctor, or get the person to a doctor right away.
• Tell your doctor what happened, the date and time it happened, and when the vaccination was given.
• Ask your doctor, nurse, or health department to report the reaction by ﬁling a Vaccine Adverse Event
Hepatitis B vaccine: Why get vaccinated?
Hepatitis B vaccine can prevent hepatitis B, and the serious consequences of hepatitis B infection, including liver cancer and cirrhosis.
Hepatitis B vaccine may be given by itself or in the same shot with other vaccines.
Routine hepatitis B vaccination was recommended for some U.S. adults and children beginning in 1982, and for all children in 1991. Since 1990, new hepatitis B infections among children and adolescents have dropped by more than 95% – and by 75% in other age groups. Vaccination gives long-term protection from hepatitis B infection, possibly lifelong
Who should get hepatitis B vaccine and when?
Children and Adolescents
Babies normally get 3 doses of hepatitis B vaccine:
1st Dose: Birth
2nd Dose: 1-2 months of age
3rd Dose: 6-18 months of age
Some babies might get 4 doses, for example, if a combination vaccine containing hepatitis B is used. (This is a single shot containing several vaccines.) The extra dose is not harmful.
• Anyone through 18 years of age who didn’t get the vaccine when they were younger should also be vaccinated.
•All unvaccinated adults at risk for hepatitis B infection should be vaccinated.
- Sex partners of people infected with hepatitis B,
- Men who have sex with men,
- People who inject street drugs,
- People with more than one sex partner,
- People with chronic liver or kidney disease,
- People under 60 years of age with diabetes,
- People with jobs that expose them to human blood or other body fluids.
- Household contacts of people infected with hepatitis B,
- Residents and staff in institutions for the developmentally disabled,
- Kidney dialysis patients,
- People who travel to countries where hepatitis B is common,
- People with HIV infection.
- Other people may be encouraged by their doctor to get hepatitis B vaccine; for example, adults 60 and older with diabetes. Anyone else who wants to be protected from hepatitis B infection may get the vaccine.
- Pregnant women who are at risk for one of the reasons stated above should be vaccinated. Other pregnant women who want protection may be vaccinated.
- Adults getting hepatitis B vaccine should get 3 doses —with the second dose given 4 weeks after the first and the third dose 5 months after the second. Your doctor can tell you about other dosing schedules that might be used in certain circumstances.
Who should not get hepatitis B vaccine?
• Anyone with a life-threatening allergy to yeast, or to any other component of the vaccine, should not get hepatitis B vaccine. Tell your doctor if you have any severe 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 when a dose of vaccine is scheduled should probably wait until they recover before getting the vaccine.
Your doctor can give you more information about these precautions.
Note: You might be asked to wait 28 days before donating blood after getting hepatitis B vaccine. This is because the screening test could mistake vaccine in the bloodstream (which is not infectious) for hepatitis B infection.
Hepatitis C vaccine
Although vaccines exist for hepatitis A and hepatitis B, development of a hepatitis C vaccine has presented challenges. No vaccine is currently available, but several vaccines are currently under development.
Read more about causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of hepatitis c.
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