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Hepatitis A Vaccine


The hepatitis A vaccine

is an injection that helps protect you from the virus that causes hepatitis A. Hepatitis A is a serious liver disease. The virus is usually spread by person-to-person contact or through food and liquid contaminated with the virus. The vaccine is given in 2 doses to both adults and children. The second dose is given at least 6 months after the first.

Adults who should get the hepatitis A vaccine:

  • Anyone with chronic liver disease
  • Men who have sex with men
  • Anyone traveling to or working in a country where hepatitis A is common, at least 1 month before travel if possible
  • Anyone who uses illegal drugs
  • Anyone who is being treated with clotting factor concentrates
  • Anyone who works with primates infected with the hepatitis A virus or who works with the virus in a research lab
  • Anyone who is adopting a child, or cares for a newly arriving adopted child from a country where hepatitis A is common
  • Anyone exposed to hepatitis A within the previous 2 weeks

Children who should get the hepatitis A vaccine:

The vaccine is usually given when children are 12 to 23 months, but older children can also receive the vaccine. The hepatitis A vaccine can be given with other vaccines. The following children should get the hepatitis A vaccine:

  • Anyone traveling to a country where hepatitis A is common
  • Anyone who has a chronic liver disease
  • Anyone who is being treated with clotting factor concentrates

Who should not get the hepatitis A vaccine or should wait to get it:

Anyone who is sick should wait to get the vaccine until symptoms go away. The following should not get the hepatitis A vaccine:

  • Anyone who had a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine or any of its parts should not get a second dose
  • Anyone with severe allergies, including to latex, should ask if the vaccine contains ingredients that can trigger an allergy

Risks of the hepatitis A vaccine:

The area where you got the shot may be sore or tender. This is usually mild and goes away in a few hours. You may also have a headache or loss of appetite, or feel tired for up to 2 days. You may have an allergic reaction to the vaccine. This can be life-threatening. If you are pregnant, ask your healthcare provider about any possible risks to you or your unborn baby.

Call 911 for any of the following:

  • You have signs of a severe allergic reaction, such as trouble breathing, hives, or wheezing.

Seek care immediately if:

  • You have a high fever or any behavior changes that concern you.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have questions or concerns about the hepatitis A vaccine.

Apply a warm compress

to the area to relieve swelling and pain.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

© 2015 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.