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Hepatitis A Vaccine

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Dec 2, 2022.

What is the hepatitis A vaccine?

The 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 or 3 doses. The vaccine can be given with other vaccines.

Who should get the hepatitis A vaccine?

You may need the hepatitis A vaccine if:

  • You have a chronic liver disease or HIV.
  • You are a man who has sex with men.
  • You live in or are traveling to an area where hepatitis A is common or has an active outbreak.
  • You use illegal drugs.
  • You work with primates infected with the hepatitis A virus, or you work with the virus in a research lab.
  • You are adopting a child, or caring for a newly arrived child from a country where hepatitis A is common.
  • You were exposed to hepatitis A within the past 2 weeks.
  • You are a pregnant or breastfeeding woman and are at risk for hepatitis A.

Who should wait to get the hepatitis A vaccine?

Wait to get the vaccine if you are sick or have a fever. Do not get a second dose of the vaccine if you had a severe allergic reaction to the first dose.

What are the 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, 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 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.

Treatment options

The following list of medications are in some way related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

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

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

When should I seek immediate care?

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

When should I call my doctor?

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

Care Agreement

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