Hepatitis A Vaccine

Hepatitis A is a serious liver disease which is caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). HAV is contagious and can spread from person to person through contact with the feces (stool) of infected people.

Updated: December 6, 2017

It is important that children, especially infants and young children, receive recommended immunizations on time.  Vaccines also protect teenagers and adults to keep them healthy throughout their lives.
Hepatitis A is a serious liver disease which is caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). HAV is contagious and can spread from person to person through contact with the feces (stool) of infected people. Spreading of viruses can easily happen if proper hygiene is not maintained such as if someone does not wash his or her hands properly.  You can also get hepatitis A from food, water, or objects contaminated with HAV.

Symptoms of Hepatitis A can include:

  • fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and joint pain
  • severe stomach pains and diarrhea occurs mainly in children
  • jaundice, a disease in which you have yellow skin or eyes, dark urine and clay-colored bowel movements
These symptoms of hepatitis usually appear 2 to 6 weeks after getting infected and last for less than 2 to 6 month. Although liver failure and death is rare in Hepatitis A, it can occurs in persons aged 50 years or older and persons with other liver diseases, such as hepatitis B or C.
Hepatitis A vaccine can prevent hepatitis A.

Hepatitis A vaccine:

Hepatitis A vaccine is an inactivated vaccine. Two doses of the vaccine is required for long-lasting protection which should be given at least 6 months apart.
Infants can be vaccinated between the age of 12 through 23 months . Children and adolescents can get the vaccine after 23 months. Adults who have not been vaccinated previously and want to be protected against hepatitis A can also get the vaccine.

You should get hepatitis A vaccine if you:

  • are traveling to countries where hepatitis A is common
  • have a chronic liver disease such as hepatitis B or hepatitis C,
  • are being treated with clotting-factor concentrates
  • use illegal drugs
  • work with hepatitis A-infected animals or in a hepatitis A research laboratory
  • are a man who has sex with other men
  • expect to have close personal contact with an international adoptee from a country where hepatitis A is common
If you want more information about any of these groups, speak to your healthcare provider.
Hepatitis A vaccine can be given at the same time as other vaccines.

You should not get Hepatitis A vaccine if:

  • you ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction after a dose of hepatitis A vaccine, or have a severe allergy to any part of this vaccine
  • you are moderately or severely ill. You should probably wait until you recover.

Risks of Hepatitis A vaccine:

There are chances of side effects are usually mild and go away on their own. Serious reactions are also possible but are rare.
Some of the mild Problems following hepatitis A vaccine include:
  •     soreness or redness where the shot was given
  •     low-grade fever
  •     headache
  •     tiredness
Usually these problems begin soon after the shot and last 1 or 2 days. You can get more information about the reaction from your doctor.

Problems that could happen after any vaccine:

  • Sometimes people faint after vaccination. Sitting or lying down for about 15 minutes can help prevent fainting. If you feel dizzy, have vision changes or ringing in the ears, speak to your doctor.
  • In some cases severe pain in the shoulder and difficulty moving the arm where a shot was given could happen.
  • A severe allergic reaction would happen within a few minutes to a few hours after the vaccination.
  • There is a very remote chance of a vaccine causing a serious injury or death. The safety of vaccines is always being monitored. You can get all the information from Vaccine Safety site.
Signs of a severe allergic reaction can include hives, swelling of the face and throat, difficulty breathing, a fast heartbeat, dizziness, and weakness. These would start a few minutes to a few hours after the vaccination. If you have severe allergic reaction, very high fever, or behavior changes , call 9-1-1 or find the nearest hospital.
The reaction should be reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) through the VAERS website or by calling 1-800-822-7967. VAERS is only for reporting reactions. They do not give medical advice.
If you are injured by a vaccine, you can file a claim in  National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) by calling 1-800-338-2382 or visiting the VICP website to get the compensation.

Learn more about Vaccine:

Your doctor can give you the vaccine package insert or suggest other sources of information.
You can call your local or state health department or can contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by:
        Calling 1-800-232-4636 (1-800-CDC-INFO)
        Visiting  CDC vaccines website


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