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Vaccine for hepatitis A  


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Hepatitis A vaccine is an immunizing strategy against Hepatitis A virus, which causes a serious liver disease (namely Hepatitis A). The virus is usually contracted through faecal contamination.


Types of Hepatitis A vaccine

Monovalent vaccine- It immunizes against hepatitis A solely

Combined vaccine: Hepatitis A vaccine is combined either with hepatitis B vaccine or typhoid vaccine.


What is the mode of action?

The inactivated vaccine contains hepatitis A virus that has been destroyed, but its capsid protein can evoke an immune response in the body to offer the much needed protection.


What is the recommended dose?

Two doses of the hepatitis vaccine are given for complete protection. The first dose should be given to children through 12-13 months old. The second dose should follow after 6-18 months of the first shot.   

3 shots in a gap of 6 months are required for a combination vaccine and are given to people above 18 years of age.

A shot called immune globulin (IG) can be given additionally to people belonging to high risk group


Who needs hepatitis A vaccine?

Ideally the vaccine is recommended for children above one year and every adult.

And it is mandatory for the following group of people: 

  • Children and people who stay in hepatitis prone country
  • Travellers who move to places having high rates of hepatitis infection
  • Workers in healthcare sectors, sanitation and sewage industry, zoos
  • Have chronic liver disease, haemophilia, take immunosuppressants and illegal drugs
  • Have been exposed to HAV virus
  • Indulge in high risk sexual practises, have multiple sexual partners
  • Reside in unhygienic places, where sanitation is compromised


Who cannot take hepatitis A vaccine?
  • Children below one year of age.
  • If you are severely ill i.e. having high fever, then your vaccination schedule would be postponed.
  • Allergic towards antibiotics, the vaccine component or had severe allergy in past after getting vaccinated.
  • Your doctor might not vaccinate you during your pregnancy or breastfeeding term although there is no evidence against the vaccine having negative impact on the baby.


How is hepatitis A vaccine administered?

The vaccine is given intramuscularly in your upper arm with an injection needle


What to expect after taking the vaccine?

The site of the injection is most likely to turn mildly sore and red. You can also experience fever, headache, dizziness and loss of appearance, although they are not very common.


Is there any risk associated with the vaccine?

Hepatitis A vaccine is harmless, until and unless, your doctor has not weighed your previous history of allergy. In such circumstances, there could be severe outbreak of allergy. 

Although rare, but you must report your doctor immediately on experiencing swelling in face, change in heart beat, trouble in breathing, etc.


How effective is hepatitis A vaccine?

A recent statistics has revealed that on taking both the doses correctly, the protection lasts for 25 years in adults and at least for 14–20 years in children. The vaccine is most effective when you take the second shot after 6 months, without delaying.

Written by: healthplus24.com team
Date last updated: March 16, 2014

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