Hepatitis B Vaccine
The hepatitis B vaccine can protect a person against hepatitis B for at least 23 years. Among the people who should get the vaccine are healthcare workers, international travelers, and people with a chronic liver disease. There are few side effects associated with this vaccine, and there is no risk of getting the disease from it.
What Is the Hepatitis B Vaccine?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 B virus. Vaccination is the best way to prevent a hepatitis B infection along with its serious consequences, which can include hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer).
The hepatitis B vaccine is sold under the following brand names:
It is also available in combination with a hepatitis A vaccine (sold under the name Twinrix®) or in combination with a Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccine (sold under the name Comvax®).
Candidates for VaccinationAnyone 18 years of age or younger should be vaccinated against the hepatitis B virus. In addition, you may need the hepatitis B vaccine if you over the age of 18 and:
- Have a chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis C
- Live in, or were born in, areas where hepatitis B is common
- Inject drugs
- Have a sex partner who has hepatitis B or have multiple sex partners
- Are a man who has sex with other men
- Share a household with someone who has hepatitis B
- Work in a high-risk profession, especially if you are in the military or are a healthcare worker, emergency worker, police officer, firefighter, or mortician
- Are an international traveler
- Are in prison
- Receive blood products or are on hemodialysis.
Certain ethnic groups have higher rates of hepatitis B virus infection. You may need the hepatitis B vaccine if you are:
- African American
- Native American
- Alaskan Native