Because it contains killed viruses rather than live ones, Havrix can be used safely, without risk of actually becoming infected with the hepatitis A virus. The vaccine can be given to children as young as 12 months old, but is especially recommended for people who are at high risk of being exposed to the virus. In some cases, Havrix will be given after exposure has occurred.
What Is Havrix Used For?Havrix® (hepatitis A vaccine) is one of a few different vaccines available to provide protection against hepatitis A. It is approved for use in children age 12 months and older, teens, and adults. Specifically, hepatitis A vaccines, including Havrix, are recommended for people in the following groups:
- All children between 12 and 24 months of age
- Individuals 12 months of age or older who will be traveling to countries with a high or intermediate risk of hepatitis A
- Children and adolescents through 18 years of age in states where routine hepatitis A vaccination is recommended (due to a high risk for the disease)
- Adults who are at an increased risk for hepatitis A infection or for complications from the disease, including but not limited to:
- Men who have sex with men
- People who use street drugs
- People with chronic liver disease
- People being treated with clotting factor concentrates
- Laboratory workers in hepatitis A research facilities.
Hepatitis A is quite contagious and is most commonly spread by eating or drinking something (or putting something in your mouth, such as a utensil) that has been contaminated with the stool of a person with hepatitis A. This is called "fecal-oral" transmission.
Although hepatitis A symptoms are usually insignificant, causing mild flu-like symptoms, serious complications are possible. About 3 to 5 out of every 1,000 cases of hepatitis A result in death.