Hepatitis A Vaccine
The hepatitis A vaccine can protect against the virus for at least 20 years. It consists of two injections, given several months apart. Children can get the vaccine after 1 year of age (it is recommended between 12 and 24 months of age). People who should get the vaccine include travelers to developing countries with high rates of hepatitis A and users of illegal drugs.
A vaccine is a drug that you take when you are healthy that keeps you from getting sick. Vaccines teach your body to attack certain viruses, like the hepatitis A virus.
The hepatitis A vaccine is given through a shot. It is approved for use in children (age 1 year and older), teens, and adults.
For Havrix®, the second dose is given 6 to 12 months after the first dose. For Vaqta®, the second dose is given 6 to 18 months after the first.
The following people should get the hepatitis A vaccine as a routine vaccination:
- Almost all children between 12 and 24 months of age
- Children living in areas with high incidence rates of hepatitis A (above the national average) -- check with your health department to see if this applies to your area
- Travelers to developing countries with high rates of hepatitis A, including Mexico
- Men who have sex with men
- Users of illegal drugs
- People who work with hepatitis A virus in research settings
- People who work with infected non-human primates
- Recipients of clotting factor concentrates
- People with chronic liver disease (because of the risk of fulminant hepatitis A).