What It Is and What It Protects Against

Hepatitis is a liver disease that can be caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). It can be spread from infected blood or body fluids, including through unprotected sex, sharing drugs and needles, tattooing, and from a pregnant mother to her child.

HepB vaccine is given in three doses, over 6 months, for at-risk individuals for hepatitis B, or for people who want to be protected from the disease.

General Use

The HepB vaccine is recommended for the following individuals:

  • infants at birth, while still in the hospital
  • older children who are not fully vaccinated from HepB
  • adolescents
  • adults who are at-risk of developing an HBV infection
  • anyone who wishes to be protected

Who Should Not Get It

While children, adolescents, and at-risk adults are encouraged to get the vaccine, certain individuals should not receive the HepB vaccine, including:

  • severe allergy to baker’s yeast or to other components of the vaccine
  • past severe reaction to HepB vaccine
  • anyone who is currently moderately-to-severely ill is advised to wait until a full recovery before getting vaccinated

Potential Side Effects

The HepB vaccine is considered to be very safe by the CDC. Mild side effects may include soreness where the shot was given, or a temperature of 99.9? or higher.

Severe side effects, though rare, include a serious allergic reaction from the shot.