Hepatitis B Vaccine
What you need to know
About the Disease
Hepatitis B is a serious disease
The hepatitis B virus can cause short-term (acute) illness that leads to:
It can also cause long-term (chronic) illness that leads to:
About 1.25 million people in the US have chronic hepatitis B virus infection
Each year it is estimated that:
Hepatitis B vaccine can prevent hepatitis B. It is the first anti-cancer vaccine because it can prevent a form of liver cancer.
How the disease is spread
Hepatitis virus is spread through contact with the blood and body fluids of an infected person. A person can get infected in several ways, such as:
People can get hepatitis B virus infection without knowing how they got it. About one third of hepatitis B cases in the United States have an unknown source.
Who should get the vaccine
Adults at risk for hepatitis B virus infection include people who have more than one sex partner, men who have sex with other men, injection drug users, health care workers, and other who might be exposed to infected blood or body fluids.
People should get 3 doses of hepatitis B vaccine according to the following schedule: if you miss a dose or get behind schedule, get the next dose as soon as you can. There is no need to start over.
Infant whose mother is infected with Hep B virus
Infant whose mother is not infected with Hep B virus
Older child, adolescent or adult
other timing issues
People should not get hepatitis B vaccine if they have ever had a life-threatening reaction to baker's yeast (the kind used for baking bread) or to a previous dose of hepatitis B vaccine.
People who are moderately or severely ill at the time the shot is scheduled should usually wait until they recover before getting hepaitis B vaccine.
Risks from the Vaccine
A vaccine, like any medicine, is capable of causing serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions. The risk of hepatitis B vaccine causing harm, or death, is extremely small.
Getting hepatitis B vaccine is much safer than getting hepatitis B disease.
Most people who get hepatitis B vaccine do not have any problems with it.
What if there is a reaction?
Look for any unusual condition, such as serious allergic reaction, high fever or behavior changes. Signs of a serious allergic reaction can include difficulty breathing, hoarseness and wheezing, hives, paleness, weakness, a fast heartbeat or dizziness. If such a reaction were to occur, it would be within a few minutes to a few hours after the shot.
If this should happen:
information from the CDC, Department of Health and Human Services