Some Frequently Asked Questions about Hepatitis A Vaccine

Hepatitis A infection is a common health problem in most developing countries due to lack of safe drinking water. Hepatitis A infection is generally rare in most developed countries except some outbreaks from hepatitis A carrier or due to consumption of contaminated food from particular source. If you live in a developed country and plan to travel to a country/region where hepatitis A infection is common, you should think of getting vaccinated against hepatitis A.

What is the schedule for hepatitis A vaccine?

Hepatitis A vaccine is given two doses for long lasting protection. The gap between two doses should be at least 6 months. Hepatitis A vaccine can be given along with other vaccines.

For children:

Hepatitis A vaccine is not licensed for infants/children of below one year age. The first dose should be given at 12 months through 23 months of age. If a child is aged 2 years and not yet vaccinated, the child should be given hepatitis A vaccine at subsequent visit.

For travelers:

Travelers should get hepatitis A vaccine at least one month prior to visit/travel to areas with high or intermediate prevalence of hepatitis A. If a traveler needs immediate protection from hepatitis A, he/she can take hepatitis A immunoglobulin which gives immediate and temporary protection.

For everybody:

If anybody wants or need protection from hepatitis A, he/she can get vaccinated any time.

Who should get hepatitis A vaccine?

Individuals with following criteria should get hepatitis A vaccine:

  • If you live in countries with high or intermediate prevalence of hepatitis A, and there is routine hepatitis A vaccination you should get vaccinated if your age is in between 2 to 18 years of age.
  • Individuals traveling to countries/regions with high or intermediate prevalence of hepatitis A should get vaccinated before travel.
  • All children between 12 to 23 months of age should get hepatitis A vaccine.
  • All homosexual men should get hepatitis A vaccine routinely.
  • Individuals using street drugs should get hepatitis A vaccine.
  • Individuals with chronic liver disease or receiving clotting factor for treatment.
  • If you are working in laboratory those conducts research on hepatic A virus.
  • Children and adolescents living in community where outbreak of hepatitis A is occurring.

Who should not get hepatitis A vaccine?

  • Individuals who had severe allergic reaction to previous dose of hepatitis A vaccine should not be given second dose.
  • If you are allergic to any of the components used for manufacturing the hepatitis A vaccine, you should not get hepatitis A vaccine.
  • If a person is seriously ill, he/she should not receive hepatitis A vaccine and wait till recovery from illness for vaccination. Mild illness is generally not a contraindication (and can get hepatitis A vaccine) for receiving hepatitis A vaccine.
  • Pregnant women should consult their doctor before taking hepatitis A vaccine. There is very little risk to pregnant women or their unborn baby from hepatitis A vaccine, but the risk is till there, however small may be.

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3 Comments

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