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Home > Living Well > Health Library > Hepatitis B Vaccine: What You Need to Know
Hepatitis B vaccine can prevent hepatitis B. Hepatitis B is a liver disease that can cause mild illness lasting a few weeks, or it can lead to a serious, lifelong illness.
Hepatitis B is spread when blood, semen, or other body fluid infected with the hepatitis B virus enters the body of a person who is not infected. People can become infected through:
Most people who are vaccinated with hepatitis B vaccine are immune for life.
Hepatitis B vaccine is usually given as 2, 3, or 4 shots.
Infants should get their first dose of hepatitis B vaccine at birth and will usually complete the series at 6 months of age (sometimes it will take longer than 6 months to complete the series).
Children and adolescents younger than 19 years of age who have not yet gotten the vaccine should also be vaccinated.
Hepatitis B vaccine is also recommended for certain unvaccinated adults:
Hepatitis B vaccine may be given at the same time as other vaccines.
Tell your vaccine provider if the person getting the vaccine:
In some cases, your health care provider may decide to postpone hepatitis B vaccination to a future visit.
People with minor illnesses, such as a cold, may be vaccinated. People who are moderately or severely ill should usually wait until they recover before getting hepatitis B vaccine.
Your health care provider can give you more information.
People sometimes faint after medical procedures, including vaccination. Tell your provider if you feel dizzy or have vision changes or ringing in the ears.
As with any medicine, there is a very remote chance of a vaccine causing a severe allergic reaction, other serious injury, or death.
An allergic reaction could occur after the vaccinated person leaves the clinic. If you see signs of a severe allergic reaction (hives, swelling of the face and throat, difficulty breathing, a fast heartbeat, dizziness, or weakness), call 9-1-1 and get the person to the nearest hospital.
For other signs that concern you, call your health care provider.
Adverse reactions should be reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). Your health care provider will usually file this report, or you can do it yourself. Visit the VAERS website at www.vaers.hhs.gov or call 1-800-822-7967. VAERS is only for reporting reactions, and VAERS staff do not give medical advice.
The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) is a federal program that was created to compensate people who may have been injured by certain vaccines. Visit the VICP website at www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation or call 1-800-338-2382 to learn about the program and about filing a claim. There is a time limit to file a claim for compensation.
Vaccine Information Statement (Interim)
Hepatitis B Vaccine
42 U.S.C. § 300aa-26
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Many Vaccine Information Statements are available in Spanish and other languages. See www.immunize.org/vis.
Hojas de información sobre vacunas están disponibles en español y en otros idiomas. Visite www.immunize.org/vis.
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