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    Hepatitis B vaccine

    Vaccine - HepB; Immunization - hepatitis B; Immunization - HepB

    The hepatitis B vaccine protects against hepatitis B infection. This is a serious disease that damages the liver.


    Hepatitis B infection is caused by the hepatitis B virus.

    The hepatitis B vaccine is called HepB for short. Itis made from smaller pieces ofthe whole hepatitis virus. After getting the vaccine, thebody learns to attack the hepatitis B virus ifthe person isexposed to it. As a result, it is unlikelythe person will get sick with hepatitis B infection.

    Hepatitis B vaccine does not protectagainst other types of hepatitis. Currently there is one other hepatitis vaccine, hepatitis A (HepA). Soa personneeds to receiveHepA to beprotected againsthepatitis A infection.



    HepB is one of the recommended childhood vaccines. HepB is given to children as a series of three shots (doses). One dose is given at each of the following ages:

    • At birth,before leaving the hospital. If the baby's mother carries the hepatitis B virus, the baby receives the firstdose right after delivery.
    • Between 1 and 2 months.
    • 6 months.

    Some infants may receive four doses when hepatitis B vaccine iscombined with other vaccines and given as a single injection.

    Children and Teens

    Children and teenswho have not been vaccinated should begin the hepatitis B vaccine series at the earliest possible date.


    Adults who have not already received HepB should get the vaccine series if they:

    • Are health care workers
    • Are household contacts or sexual partners of persons known to be infected with hepatitis B
    • Are men who have sex with other men
    • Are on dialysis
    • Have diabetes
    • Have end-stage kidney disease, chronic liver disease, or HIV infection
    • Have multiple sexual partners
    • Use recreational, injectable drugs
    • Will be having an organ transplant, bone marrow transplant, or chemotherapy

    HepB can be received as a vaccine by itself.Orit can be received asa combined vaccine thatprotects against other diseases. Your health care provider can tell you if this vaccine is right for you or your child.


    • Persons who are allergic to yeast.
    • Persons who received a dose of the vaccine and developed a serious allergy from it.
    • Persons who are ill with something more severethan a coldor have a fever should reschedule their vaccination until after they are recovered.


    Mostpersons whoget HepB have no side effects. Others may have minor problems, such as soreness and redness at the injection site or a mild fever. Serious problems are rare and are mainly due to allergic reactions to a part of the vaccine.

    There is no proof that the hepatitis B vaccine is linked to the development of autism.

    No vaccine works all of the time. It is still possible, thoughunlikely,to get hepatitis B infection even after receiving all doses (shots) of HepB.


    • You are not sure if a person should get the hepatitisvaccine
    • Mild or serious symptoms appear after receiving the vaccine
    • You have any questions or concerns about the vaccine


    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) Recommended Immunization Schedules for Persons Aged 0 Through 18 Years and Adults Aged 19 Years and Older — United States, 2013. MMWR. 2013;62(Suppl1):1-19.

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vaccine safety and adverse events. Available at Accessed April 19, 2013.

    DeStefano F, Price CS, Weintraub ES. Increasing exposure to antibody-stimulating proteins and polysaccharides in vaccines is not associated with risk of autism. J Pediatr. 2013; DOI10.1016/j.peds.2013.02.001.

    Institute of Medicine. Immunization Safety Review Committee. Imunization Safety Review: Vaccines and Autism. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; 2004.

    Orenstein WA, Atkinson WL. Immunization. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 17.


    • Hepatitis B virus


    • Hepatitis B


      • Hepatitis B virus


      • Hepatitis B


      A Closer Look

        Self Care

        Tests for Hepatitis B vaccine

        Review Date: 2/21/2013

        Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Blackman, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.

        The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

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