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Vaccine for Hepatitis B


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Hepatitis B is a serious disease caused by the Hepatitis B virus, which affects the liver. The infection when persists for long time can lead to liver damage, cirrhosis and liver cancer. It can also be fatal. Hepatitis B vaccine is the only preventive strategy for hepatitis B infection.


How does Hepatitis B vaccine work?

Hepatitis B vaccine is an inactivated form of vaccine. It contains hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), which can attack the Hep B virus and protect you from the disease.


Who needs hepatitis B vaccine?

Everyone should get vaccinated against hepatitis B. The vaccine is safe for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers also.

For babies and children 

  • It is given shortly after birth, at 1-2 months old and should be completed within 18 months of age.
  • Administered within 12 hours of birth to babies born to Hep B infected mothers
  • If your baby has missed it you can still get him/her vaccinated through 18 years of age.

For adults (high risk groups)

  • Those working with hepatitis and HIV patients, have family members with hepatitis
  • Men and women working in healthcare sectors, laboratory, sanitation and sewage sectors
  • Have liver disease, kidney infection, cancer, diabetes or suppressed immunity
  • Indulge in risky sexual behaviour
  • People travelling to underdeveloped countries where hepatitis B is prevalent


Who should not get hepatitis B vaccine?


  • The dosage may be postponed if you are seriously ill or have some chronic health problem. Your doctor would ask you to wait until recovery
  • Those who had allergy to the vaccine before
  • Is allergic towards yeast, latex, etc. 
Let your doctor know about this.


What is the correct dose for hepatitis B vaccine?

For lifelong immunity, you should get 3 doses of hepatitis B vaccine over 4 to 6 months.

The second injection is preferably given after 4-10 weeks of the first and the third dose after six months.1-5 months of the second.

It’s important to note that additional doses may be recommended by your doctor if you have an impaired immune system or if the antibody load is less than that needed for complete protection.  

HBV may also be administered in combination with Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccine or with DTaP (Diphtheria-Tetanus-acellular Pertussis) and inactivated polio vaccines

The other combination is with hepatitis A (HAV) vaccine.


How is hepatitis B vaccine administered?

The vaccine is usually given intramuscularly. The shot may be given underneath your skin if you have bleeding disorders.


Are there any side effects of hepatitis B vaccine?

Hepatitis B vaccine is safe. The only side effect is soreness in the site of infection. It remains red and puffy for a day or two and heals spontaneously. You might have mild fever, which is normal. 

Changes of allergy are rare. However if you notice anything, let your doctor know immediately.


How effective is hepatitis B vaccine?

Hepatitis B vaccines are not only effective but also safe. Doctors say that the success rate is 95% as vaccinated individuals produce antibodies after getting vaccinated, which are capable of offering immunity in the long run.

Written by: healthplus24.com team
Date last updated: March 27, 2014

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