Hepatitis B pediatric vaccine
Medically reviewed on July 19, 2016
What is hepatitis B vaccine?
Hepatitis B is a serious disease caused by a virus. Hepatitis B causes inflammation of the liver, vomiting, and jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes). Hepatitis can lead to liver cancer, cirrhosis, or death.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver that is spread through blood or bodily fluids, sexual contact or sharing IV drug needles with an infected person, or during childbirth when a baby is born to a mother who is infected.
The hepatitis B pediatric vaccine is used to help prevent this disease in children and teenagers.
This vaccine works by exposing your child to a small amount of the virus, which causes the body to develop immunity to the disease. This vaccine will not treat an active infection that has already developed in the body.
Vaccination with hepatitis B pediatric vaccine is recommended for all children beginning at birth, especially children and adolescents who are at risk of getting hepatitis B. Risk factors include: being born to a mother who is a hepatitis carrier; being on dialysis or receiving blood transfusions; living in an institute for the mentally handicapped; traveling to high-risk areas; living with a person who has chronic hepatitis B infection; and being of Native Alaskan, Indochinese, Haitian, or Pacific Island descent.
Like any vaccine, the hepatitis B vaccine may not provide protection from disease in every person.
Hepatitis B pediatric vaccine should not be given to a child who is allergic to baker's yeast.
This vaccine will not protect against hepatitis B if your child is already infected with the virus, even if he or she does not yet show symptoms.
Before taking this medicine
Hepatitis B vaccine will not protect against infection with hepatitis A, C, and E, or other viruses that affect the liver. It may also not protect against hepatitis B if your child is already infected with the virus, even if he or she does not yet show symptoms.
Your child should not receive this vaccine if he or she ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to any vaccine containing hepatitis B. Hepatitis B pediatric vaccine should not be given to a child who is allergic to baker's yeast.
If your child has any of these other conditions, this vaccine may need to be postponed or not given at all:
kidney disease (or if the child is on dialysis);
a bleeding or blood clotting disorder such as hemophilia or easy bruising;
an allergy to latex rubber; or
a neurologic disorder or disease affecting the brain (or if this was a reaction to a previous vaccine).
Your child can still receive a vaccine if he or she has a minor cold. In the case of a more severe illness with a fever or any type of infection, wait until the child gets better before receiving this vaccine.
It is not known whether this vaccine will harm an unborn baby. Tell the doctor if your child is pregnant or becomes pregnant while receiving the series of hepatitis B vaccines.
It is not known whether hepatitis B vaccine passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Tell the doctor if your child is breast-feeding a baby.
How is this vaccine given?
The vaccine is injected into a muscle. Your child will receive this injection in a doctor's office or other clinic setting.
The hepatitis B pediatric vaccine is given in a series of shots beginning shortly after birth. The booster shots are sometimes given 1 month and 6 months after the first shot. If your child has a high risk of hepatitis B infection, he or she may be given a booster 2 months after the first shot and then 12 to 24 months later.
Your child's individual booster schedule may be different from these guidelines. Follow your doctor's instructions or the schedule recommended by your local health department.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Contact your doctor if you miss a booster dose or if you get behind schedule. The next dose should be given as soon as possible. There is no need to start over.
Be sure your child receives all recommended doses of this vaccine. Your child may not be fully protected if he or she does not receive the full series.
What happens if I overdose?
An overdose of this vaccine is unlikely to occur.
What should I avoid before or after receiving this vaccine?
Follow your doctor's instructions about any restrictions on food, beverages, or activity.
This vaccine side effects
Get emergency medical help if your child has signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Your child should not receive a booster vaccine if he or she had a life-threatening allergic reaction after the first shot.
Keep track of any and all side effects your child has after receiving this vaccine. When the child receives a booster dose, you will need to tell the doctor if the previous shot caused any side effects.
Becoming infected with hepatitis B is much more dangerous to your child's health than receiving this vaccine. However, like any medicine, this vaccine can cause side effects but the risk of serious side effects is extremely low.
Call your doctor at once if your child has:
fussiness, irritability, crying for an hour or longer;
unusual muscle weakness;
changes in behavior; or
severe skin reaction--fever, sore throat, swelling in your face or tongue, burning in your eyes, skin pain followed by a red or purple skin rash that spreads (especially in the face or upper body) and causes blistering and peeling.
Common side effects include:
diarrhea, loss of appetite;
feeling weak or tired;
mild fussiness or crying;
low fever; or
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report vaccine side effects to the US Department of Health and Human Services at 1-800-822-7967.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
Hepatitis B pediatric vaccine dosing information
Usual Pediatric Dose for Hepatitis B Prophylaxis:
Engerix-B(R): Three doses (10 mcg each), IM, on a 0, 1, and 6 month schedule
Recombivax HB(R): Three doses (5 mcg each), IM, on a 0, 1, and 6 month schedule
Known or Presumed Hepatitis B Exposure:
Use recommended doses (above) on a 0, 1, and 6 month schedule OR a 0, 1, 2, and 12 month schedule.
-Administer hepatitis B immune globulin if appropriate.
-Start hepatitis B vaccine as soon as possible after exposure.
What other drugs will affect hepatitis B vaccine?
Before your child receives this vaccine, tell the doctor about all other vaccines your child has recently received.
Other drugs may interact with hepatitis B vaccine, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use now and any medicine you start or stop using.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
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