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Hepatitis B Vaccine for Children

AMBULATORY CARE:

The hepatitis B vaccine

is an injection that helps protect your child 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. Your child 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. Your baby can be infected during birth if his or her mother has hepatitis B. This increases his or her risk for developing chronic hepatitis B.

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.

Seek care immediately if:

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

Call your child's doctor if:

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

When your child should get the hepatitis B vaccine:

The hepatitis B vaccine is usually given in 3 doses:

  • Babies are routinely given a dose of the hepatitis B vaccine within 24 hours of birth. If your baby's mother has hepatitis B, your baby should get the vaccine within 12 hours of birth.
  • A second dose is given at 1 to 2 months.
  • A third dose is given at 6 to 18 months.

Who should get the hepatitis B vaccine:

Any child up to 18 years of age who did not get the vaccine or all of the needed doses should get the vaccine.

  • Your adolescent should get the vaccine if:
    • He or she gets a stick from an infected needle, including for illegal drugs and for procedures such as tattooing
    • He or she has unprotected sex with an infected person, sex with more than one partner, or is a male who has sex with males
  • Your child or adolescent should get the vaccine if:
    • An object with infected blood or body fluids on it touches a wound
    • He or she has close contact with an infected person
    • He or she travels to an area where hepatitis B is common
    • He or she lives or works in a facility for developmentally disabled persons, long-term care facility, or correctional facility

If your child misses a dose of the vaccine:

Contact your child's healthcare provider to schedule a catch-up dose.

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

If your child is sick, wait until his or her symptoms go away before he or she gets the vaccine. Your child should not get the vaccine if he or she has a severe allergy to yeast or to any part of the hepatitis B vaccine. Your child should not get a second dose of the vaccine if he or she had a severe allergic reaction to the first dose.

Risks of the hepatitis B vaccine:

The area where your child got the shot may be sore. This should get better in 1 to 2 days. He or she may have a low fever. He or she may have an allergic reaction to the vaccine. This can be life-threatening.

Follow up with your child's doctor 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.