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Hepatitis A Vaccine for Children

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

What is the hepatitis A vaccine?

The vaccine is an injection that helps protect your child 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.

When should my child get the hepatitis A vaccine?

The vaccine is given in 2 doses at least 6 months apart. The vaccine should be given routinely between 12 and 23 months of age. It can be given between 2 years and 18 years of age, if needed. Your pregnant adolescent should get the vaccine if she is at risk for hepatitis A. Her healthcare provider will tell you when she should get it. The hepatitis A vaccine can be given with other vaccines.


What increases the risk for hepatitis A?

Your child or adolescent is at increased risk if he or she:

  • Was exposed to hepatitis A within the past 2 weeks
  • Will be living or travelling internationally
  • Will be living in or going to an area where hepatitis A is common or has an active outbreak
  • Will be in close contact with a child adopted from another country
  • Has a chronic liver disease, HIV, or a weak immune system
  • Uses illegal drugs or is a male who has sex with another male

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

If your child is sick, wait to get the vaccine until his or her symptoms go away. Do not let him or her get a second dose if he or she had a severe allergic reaction to the first dose.

What are the risks of the hepatitis A vaccine?

The area where your child got the shot may be sore or tender. This is usually mild and goes away in a few hours. He or she may also have a headache or loss of appetite, or feel tired for up to 2 days. He or she may have an allergic reaction to the vaccine. This can be life-threatening. If your child has severe allergies, including to latex, ask if the vaccine contains ingredients that can trigger an allergic reaction.

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

  • Your child has signs of a severe allergic reaction, such as trouble breathing, hives, or wheezing.

When should I seek immediate care?

  • Your child has a high fever or any behavior changes that concern you.

When should I call my child's doctor?

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

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your child. 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.

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Further information

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