Hepatitis B is a serious disease caused by a virus that attacks the liver. The virus, which is called hepatitis B virus (HBV), can cause lifelong infection, cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver, liver cancer, liver failure and death. The hepatitis B vaccine is available for all age groups to prevent HBV infection.
If experiencing any of these symptoms, see your doctor immediately for emergency care.
There are currently two vaccines available to prevent hepatitis B: Engerix-B® and Recombivax HB®. Both vaccines are given in a 3-dose series. Another vaccine, Twinrix®, combines hepatitis A and B vaccines and is also available in a 3-dose series.
With any medicine, including vaccines, there is a chance of side effects. These are usually mild and go away on their own, but serious reactions are also possible.
Most people who get the hepatitis B vaccine do not have any problems with it.
Minor problems following hepatitis B vaccination include:
If these problems occur, they usually begin soon after the shot and last 1 or 2 days.
Your doctor can tell you more about these reactions.
Other problems that could happen after this vaccine:
As with any medicine, there is a very remote chance of a vaccine causing a serious injury or death.
The safety of vaccines is always being monitored. For more information, visit the vaccine safety site.
This information is based on the hepatitis B VIS.