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Hepatitis B Vaccine


The hepatitis B vaccine

is an injection that helps protect you from the virus that causes hepatitis B. Hepatitis B is a serious liver infection. The virus is usually spread through contact with the blood or body fluids of an infected person. You can also get it by touching an object that has the virus on it. The virus can live on an object for up to 7 days. A baby can be infected at birth if his mother has hepatitis B.

Who should get the hepatitis B vaccine:

You will need the vaccine if you did not receive it as a child and you are at risk for hepatitis B. Adults get 3 doses of the vaccine. The second dose is given 4 weeks after the first. The third dose is given 5 months after the second. The following adults should get the hepatitis B vaccine:

  • Men who have sex with men
  • Anyone who has more than one sex partner, or who has a sex partner who is infected with hepatitis B
  • Anyone who injects illegal drugs
  • Anyone who has a chronic liver or kidney disease
  • Anyone who has diabetes and is younger than 60 years, or if recommended by a healthcare provider for those older than 60
  • Anyone who may be exposed to blood or body fluids at work
  • Anyone who lives in the same house as a person who has hepatitis B
  • Anyone who lives or works in an institution for developmentally disabled persons
  • Anyone who is receiving kidney dialysis
  • Anyone who is traveling to a country where hepatitis B is common
  • Anyone who is HIV-positive
  • A woman who is pregnant and at risk for hepatitis B

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

If you are sick, wait until your symptoms go away before you get the vaccine. You should not get the vaccine if you have a severe allergy to yeast or to any part of the hepatitis B vaccine. You should not get a second dose of the vaccine if you had a severe allergic reaction to the first dose.

Risks of the hepatitis B vaccine:

The area where you got the shot may be sore. You may have a low fever. You may have an allergic reaction to the vaccine. This can be life-threatening. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, ask if it is safe for you to get the hepatitis B vaccine.

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 behavior changes that concern you.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

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

Apply a warm compress

to the area where you got the vaccine 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.

© 2016 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.