Hepatitis B Vaccine

Who Should Not Get the Vaccine? Who Should Wait to Get It?

You should not get the hepatitis B vaccine:
  • If you have had a severe (life-threatening) allergic reaction to a previous dose of hepatitis B vaccine.
  • If you have had a severe (life-threatening) allergy to any vaccine component or to baker's yeast (the kind used to make bread). Tell your doctor if you have any severe allergies.
If you are moderately or severely ill at the time you are scheduled to receive the shot, you should wait until you have recovered before getting the hepatitis B vaccine. If you are ill, ask your doctor or nurse whether you should receive the vaccine. People with a mild illness can usually get it.
Be sure to tell your doctor if you are pregnant. The safety of the hepatitis B vaccine for pregnant women has not been determined; however, there is no evidence that it is harmful to either pregnant women or their unborn babies. The risk, if any, is thought to be very low.
(Click Engerix-B and Pregnancy or Recombivax HB and Pregnancy for more information about the use of these vaccines during pregnancy.)

How Is the Hepatitis B Vaccine Given?

There are a few different dosing schedules for this vaccine. The complete schedule consists of two for four injections, depending on the brand of vaccine and the age of the individual being vaccinated.
People who are infected with another virus, such as the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), or who have problems with their immune system, may need extra boosters of the hepatitis B vaccine.
Babies should get the first dose while still in the hospital, shortly after being born. For babies born to infected mothers, this first dose is especially important and should be given within 12 hours after birth.
Older children, adolescents, or adults can get their first shot anytime.
(Click Engerix-B Dosage or Recombivax HB Dosage for more information.)
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What Is Hepatitis B?

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