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Hepatitis B Vaccine


What is the hepatitis B vaccine?

The 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.

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 usually get 2 or 3 doses of the vaccine. You may need the hepatitis B vaccine if:

  • You are a man who has sex with men.
  • You have more than one sex partner, or your sex partner is infected with hepatitis B.
  • You inject illegal 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 in the same house as a person who has hepatitis B.
  • You live or work in a facility for developmentally disabled persons, long-term care facility, or correctional facility.
  • 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 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?

Wait to get the vaccine if you are sick or have a fever. Do not get the vaccine if you have a severe allergy to yeast or to any part of the hepatitis B vaccine. 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 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. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, ask if it is safe for you to get the hepatitis B vaccine.

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 call my doctor?

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