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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. The second dose is given at least 6 months after the first. The vaccine can be given with other vaccines.

Adults who should get the hepatitis A vaccine:

  • Anyone who has a 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 past 2 weeks

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

If you are sick, wait to get the vaccine until your symptoms go away. Do not get a second dose of the vaccine if you had a severe allergic reaction to the first dose.

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. Rarely, you may develop severe shoulder pain that lasts longer than 2 days. You may have an allergic reaction to the vaccine. This can be life-threatening. If you have severe allergies, including to latex, ask if the vaccine contains ingredients that can trigger an allergic reaction. 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.

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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.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.