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 Vaccination

Anyone 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
  • Latino
  • Native American
  • Haitian
  • Alaskan Native
  • Vietnamese
  • Chinese
  • Korean
  • Filipino.
     
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What Is Hepatitis B?

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