The hepatitis B vaccine protects against hepatitis B, a serious disease that damages the liver. The vaccine is one of the recommended childhood immunizations.
The vaccine is made from inactivated whole virus of hepatitis B. The inactive virus stimulates your body to produce antibodies to fight the hepatitis B virus.
WHO SHOULD GET THIS VACCINE
The hepatitis B vaccine is given to children as a series of three injections (shots).
For infants who do not receive the first shot until 4 to 8 weeks, the second shot is given at 4 months and the third at 6 to 16 months. In either instance, the second and third shots are given along with other routine childhood immunizations.
Adolescents who have not been vaccinated should begin the hepatitis B vaccine series at the earliest possible date.
Adults or children who have not already received the vaccine and should receive the vaccine if they meet any of the following criteria:
A vaccine for adults called Twinrix provides protection against both hepatitis A and B. It is given in 3 doses.
RISKS AND SIDE EFFECTS
Most infants who receive the hepatitis B vaccine have no side effects. Others may have minor problems, such as soreness and redness at the injection site or a mild fever. Serious problems are rare and are mainly due to allergic reactions to a component of the vaccine.
If the child is ill with something more serious than a cold, the hepatitis B vaccine may be delayed.
If the child has a severe allergic reaction to baker's yeast, they should not receive this vaccine.
If severe allergic reaction occurs after receiving the vaccine, no further hepatitis B vaccines should be given to the child.
CALL YOUR PRIMARY HEALTH CARE PROVIDER IF:
Vaccine - hepatitis B; Immunization - hepatitis B