1. What is hepatitis B?

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.

Acute (short-term) illness. This can lead to:

Acute illness is more common among adults. Children who become infected usually do not have acute illness.

Chronic (long-term) illness. Some people go on to develop chronic HBV infection. This can be very serious, and often leads to:

Chronic infection is more common among infants and children than among adults. People who are infected can spread HBV to others, even if they don’t appear sick.

Hepatitis B virus is spread through contact with the blood or other body fluids of an infected person. A person can become infected by:

2. Hepatitis B vaccine: Why get vaccinated?

Hepatitis B vaccine can prevent hepatitis B, and the serious consequences of HBV infection, including liver cancer and cirrhosis.

Routine hepatitis B vaccination of U.S. children began in 1991. Since then, the reported incidence of acute hepatitis B among children and adolescents has dropped by more than 95% and by 75% in all age groups.

Hepatitis B vaccine is made from a part of the hepatitis B virus. It cannot cause HBV infection.

Hepatitis B vaccine is usually given as a series of 3 or 4 shots. This vaccine series gives long-term protection from HBV infection, possibly lifelong.

3. Who should get hepatitis B vaccine and when?

Children and Adolescents


4. Who should NOT get hepatitis B vaccine?

Your provider can give you more information about these precautions.

Pregnant women who need protection from HBV infection may be vaccinated.

5. Hepatitis B vaccine risks

Hepatitis B is a very safe vaccine. Most people do not have any problems with it.
The following mild problems have been reported:

Severe problems are extremely rare. Severe allergicreactions are believed to occur about once in 1.1 million doses.

A vaccine, like any medicine, could cause a serious reaction. But the risk of a vaccine causing serious harm, or death, is extremely small. More than 100 million people have gotten hepatitis B vaccine in theUnited States.

6. 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?