Hepatitis B Vaccine


Hepatitis B is a serious liver disease caused by the hepatitis B virus. This disease can be prevented with the hepatitis B vaccine. It prompts the body to create antibodies that will protect against the virus.

How it is Given

The vaccine is routinely given to babies in three injections. Babies normally get the first injection at birth. The second is given a month later. Five months after that, the final injection is given. Children and teens who didn't receive the hepatitis B vaccine as babies need three to four doses, depending on the type of vaccine given. Adults need three doses.

Who Should Get the Vaccine

All babies should get the vaccine. All unvaccinated adults should get it if they are at risk for the hepatitis B infection. This includes people whose sex partners have the disease, men who have sex with other men, and people who use illicit drugs. People who have a chronic liver or kidney disease, and people who have HIV should get the vaccine. Kidney dialysis patients, and people under age 60 who have diabetes should also be vaccinated. People who work in jobs that expose them to bodily fluids should be vaccinated. So should people who plan to travel to countries where the disease is common.

Who Should Avoid or Postpone Vaccination

The vaccine is safe for pregnant women, but it can be a concern for some people. Those who have a severe reaction to the first dose should not get another injection. Also, anyone who is sick should wait to get the vaccine.