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Hepatitis B Vaccine

Medically reviewed by Last updated on May 1, 2023.


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 or her mother has hepatitis B.

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.

Call your doctor if:

  • You have a high fever or symptoms that concern you.
  • You have questions or concerns about the hepatitis B vaccine.

Who should get the hepatitis B vaccine:

The vaccine is given in 2, 3, or 4 doses. Your healthcare provider will tell you how many doses you need and when to get them. Vaccination is recommended for adults aged 19 to 59 and those 60 or older at high risk for hepatitis B. Any adult 60 or older who wants the vaccine can also receive it. You are at high risk if any of the following is true:

  • You are a man who has sex with men.
  • You have more than 1 sex partner, or your sex partner is infected with hepatitis B.
  • You inject drugs or share needles or syringes with others.
  • You have a chronic liver or kidney disease.
  • You have diabetes, HIV, or hepatitis C.
  • You were exposed to blood or body fluids at work.
  • You live with a person who has hepatitis B.
  • You live or work in a long-term care facility or correctional institution.
  • You are receiving kidney dialysis.
  • You are traveling to a country where hepatitis B is common.
  • You are being tested or treated for a sexually transmitted infection (STI).
  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding and are at risk for hepatitis B. One form of the vaccine is not given during pregnancy. Be sure to tell your healthcare provider if you know or think you are pregnant.

Treatment options

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

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

Do not get the vaccine if you have a known allergy to yeast or any part of the vaccine. Do not get a second dose if you had a severe allergic reaction to the first. Wait to get the vaccine if you are sick or have a fever on the appointment day.

Risks of the hepatitis B vaccine:

The area where you got the shot may be sore. This usually gets better in 1 to 2 days. You may have a low fever. You may have an allergic reaction to the vaccine. This can be life-threatening.

Apply a warm compress

to the area where you got the vaccine to relieve swelling and pain.

Follow up with your doctor as directed:

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

© Copyright Merative 2023 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes.

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.