What is the most important information I should know about hepatitis A and B vaccine?
Tell your doctor if you use other medicines or have other medical conditions or allergies.
What is hepatitis A and B vaccine?
Hepatitis A and B are serious diseases caused by virus. Hepatitis causes inflammation of the liver, vomiting, and jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes). Hepatitis can lead to liver cancer, cirrhosis, or death.
The hepatitis A and B vaccine is used to help prevent these diseases in adults. The vaccine works by exposing you to a small dose 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.
This vaccine is recommended for adults with risk factors for getting hepatitis A or B, including:
- having chronic liver problems, such as cirrhosis or hepatitis C, or needing a liver transplant;
- using intravenous (IV) drugs;
- living with a person who has either hepatitis A or B infection;
- having sexual contact with an infected person;
- having a blood clotting disorder such as hemophilia;
- being on dialysis or receiving blood transfusions;
- living in a correctional institution;
- being in the military or traveling to high-risk areas; and
- working in healthcare or public safety and being exposed to infected blood or body fluids.
Like any vaccine, the hepatitis A and B vaccine may not provide protection from disease in every person.
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before receiving hepatitis A and B vaccine?
Hepatitis A and B vaccine will not protect you against infection with hepatitis C or E, or other viruses that affect the liver. It will also not protect you from hepatitis A or B if you are already infected with the virus, even if you do not yet show symptoms.
You should not receive this vaccine if you are allergic to yeast or neomycin, or if you have ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to any vaccine containing hepatitis A or hepatitis B.
Tell your doctor if you have ever had:
- an allergy to latex rubber; or
- a weak immune system (caused by disease or by using certain medicine).
You can still receive a vaccine if you have a minor cold. In the case of a more severe illness with a fever or any type of infection, wait until you get better before receiving this vaccine.
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
How is this vaccine given?
This vaccine is given as an injection (shot) into a muscle. You will receive this injection in a doctor's office or other clinic setting.
The hepatitis A and B vaccine is given in a series of 3 shots. The booster shots are given 1 month and 6 months after the first shot.
If you have a high risk of hepatitis infection, you may be given 3 shots within 30 days, and a fourth shot 12 months after the first.
Your individual booster schedule may be different from these guidelines. Follow your doctor's instructions or the schedule recommended by the health department of the state you live in.
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 to receive all recommended doses of this vaccine or you may not be fully protected against disease.
What happens if I overdose?
An overdose of this vaccine is unlikely to occur.
What should I avoid before or after receiving hepatitis A and B vaccine?
Follow your doctor's instructions about any restrictions on food, beverages, or activity.
What are the possible side effects of hepatitis A and B vaccine?
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Keep track of any and all side effects you have after receiving this vaccine. When you receive a booster dose, you will need to tell the doctor if the previous shot caused any side effects.
You should not receive a booster vaccine if you had a life-threatening allergic reaction after the first shot.
You may feel faint after receiving this vaccine. Some people have had seizure like reactions after receiving this vaccine. Your doctor may want you to remain under observation during the first 15 minutes after the injection.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
- numbness, pain, tingling, weakness, burning or prickly feeling, vision or hearing problems, trouble breathing;
- red or blistering skin rash; or
- easy bruising or bleeding (nosebleeds, bleeding gums).
Common side effects may include:
- redness or tenderness where the shot was given;
- headache; 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.
What other drugs will affect hepatitis A and B vaccine?
Before receiving this vaccine, tell the doctor about all other vaccines you have recently received.
Also tell the doctor if you have recently received drugs or treatments that can weaken the immune system, including:
- steroid medicine;
- cancer treatments;
- medicine to treat psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, or other autoimmune disorders; or
- medicines to treat or prevent organ transplant rejection.
If you are using any of these medications, you may not be able to receive the vaccine, or may need to wait until the other treatments are finished.
This list is not complete. Other drugs may affect hepatitis A and B vaccine, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed here.
Where can I get more information?
Your vaccination provider, pharmacist, or doctor can provide more information about this vaccine. Additional information is available from your local health department or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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.
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