hepatitis A adult vaccine

Pronunciation: HEP a TYE tis

Brand: Havrix, Vaqta

What is the most important information I should know about hepatitis A vaccine?

Tell your doctor if you use other medicines or have other medical conditions or allergies.

What is hepatitis A vaccine?

Hepatitis is a serious disease caused by a virus. Hepatitis causes inflammation of the liver, vomiting, and jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes). Hepatitis can lead to liver cancer, cirrhosis, or death.

The hepatitis A adult vaccine is used to help prevent this disease in adults.

This vaccine works by exposing you to a small amount of the virus, which causes the body to develop immunity to the disease. This vaccine will not treat an active infection that has already developed in the body.

Vaccination with hepatitis A adult vaccine is recommended for all adults who travel in certain areas of the world where hepatitis A is a common disease.

Like any vaccine, the hepatitis A vaccine may not provide protection from disease in every person.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before receiving this vaccine?

Hepatitis A vaccine will not protect against infection with hepatitis B, C, and E, or other viruses that affect the liver. It may also not protect against hepatitis A if you are already infected with the virus, even without showing symptoms.

You should not receive this vaccine if you have ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to any vaccine containing hepatitis A, or if you are allergic to neomycin.

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • an allergy to latex rubber; or
  • a weak immune system (caused by disease or by using certain medicine).

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

How is this vaccine given?

This vaccine is given as an injection (shot) into a muscle. You will receive this injection in a doctor's office or clinic setting.

You will receive a shot of the hepatitis A vaccine and then a booster shot 6 to 18 months later.

To prevent hepatitis A while traveling, you should receive this vaccine at least 2 weeks before your trip. Your healthcare provider will determine the best dosing schedule for your situation.

Your doctor may recommend treating fever and pain with an aspirin free pain reliever such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, and others) when the shot is given and for the next 24 hours. Follow the label directions or your doctor's instructions about how much of this medicine to use.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Contact your doctor if you miss a booster dose or if you get behind schedule. The next dose should be given as soon as possible. There is no need to start over.

Be sure to receive all recommended doses of this vaccine or you may not be fully protected against disease.

What happens if I overdose?

An overdose of this vaccine is unlikely to occur.

What should I avoid before or after getting this vaccine?

Follow your doctor's instructions about any restrictions on food, beverages, or activity.

What are the possible side effects of hepatitis A vaccine?

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

You should not receive a booster vaccine if you had a life threatening allergic reaction after the first shot.

Keep track of any and all side effects you have after receiving this vaccine. When you receive a booster dose, you will need to tell the doctor if the previous shot caused any side effects.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • extreme drowsiness, fainting; or
  • high fever (within a few hours or a few days after the vaccine).

Common side effects may include:

  • headache; or
  • swelling, tenderness, redness, or warmth where the shot was given.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report vaccine side effects to the US Department of Health and Human Services at 1-800-822-7967.

What other drugs will affect hepatitis A vaccine?

Before receiving this vaccine, tell the doctor about all other vaccines you have recently received.

Also tell the doctor if you have recently received drugs or treatments that can weaken the immune system, including:

  • steroid medicine;
  • cancer treatments;
  • medicine to treat psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, or other autoimmune disorders; or
  • medicines to treat or prevent organ transplant rejection.

If you are using any of these medications, you may not be able to receive the vaccine, or may need to wait until the other treatments are finished.

This list is not complete. Other drugs may affect hepatitis A vaccine, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed here.

Where can I get more information?

Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more information about this vaccine. Additional information is available from your local health department or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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