1. What is hepatitis A?

Hepatitis A is a serious liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). HAV is found in the stool of persons with hepatitis A. It is usually spread by close personal contact and sometimes by eating food or drinking water containing HAV.

Hepatitis A can cause:

People with hepatitis A often have to be hospitalized (up to about 1 person in 5).

Sometimes, people die as a result of hepatitis A (about 3-5 deaths per 1,000 cases).

A person who has hepatitis A can easily pass the disease to others within the same household.

Hepatitis A vaccine can prevent hepatitis A.

2. Who should get hepatitis vaccine and when?


Some people should be routinely vaccinated with hepatitis A vaccine:

Other people might get hepatitis A vaccine in special situations:

Hepatitis A vaccine is not licensed for children younger than 1 year of age.


For children, the first dose should be given at 12-23 months of age. Children who are not vaccinated by 2 years of age can be vaccinated at later visits.

For travelers, the vaccine series should be started at least one month before traveling to provide the best protection. (Persons who get the vaccine less than one month before traveling can also get a shot called immune globulin (IG). IG gives immediate, temporary protection.) For others, the hepatitis A vaccine series may be started whenever a person is at risk of infection.

Two doses of the vaccine are needed for lasting protection. These doses should be given at least 6 months apart.

Hepatitis A vaccine may be given at the same time as other vaccines.

3. Some people should not get hepatitis A vaccine or should wait

4. What are the risks of hepatitis A vaccine?

A vaccine, like any medicine, could possibly cause serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions. The risk of hepatitis A vaccine causing serious harm, or death, is extremely small.

Getting hepatitis A vaccine is much safer than getting the disease.

Mild Problems:

If these problems occur, they usually last 1 or 2 days.

Severe Problems:

5. What if there is a moderate or severe reaction?

What should I look for?

What should I do?

VAERS does not provide medical advice.

6. The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program

A federal program exists to help pay for the care of anyone who has a serious reaction to a vaccine.

For more information about the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, call 1-800-338-2382, or visit their website at www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation.

7. How can I learn more?