Immunization protects you from disease.Get protected, get immunized.
The HAV vaccine protects against the hepatitis A virus.
People with liver problems and people who are at risk for contact with the hepatitis A virus get this vaccine.
Talk to a public health nurse to find out if you can get the HAV vaccine for free. You may need a blood test to check if you’re already protected.
You may also benefit from the vaccine if you travel to an area that has a high risk of hepatitis A. If you get the vaccine because of travel, it’s not free.
If you can’t get the vaccine for free, check with your health insurance provider to see if your plan covers the cost.
Most people need 2 doses, which are given at least 6 months apart.
There are 2 other vaccines that protect against hepatitis A.
Twinrix protects against the hepatitis A and B viruses. People who travel often get this vaccine.
Vivaxim protects against the hepatitis A virus and the bacteria that causes typhoid fever. Some people who travel may get this vaccine.
If you’ve already had these vaccines, you may not need the HAV vaccine. Check with your healthcare provider to find out if you need more doses.
If you’re immunized before you have contact with the hepatitis A virus, the protection is 90% to 97%.
If you get this vaccine within 1 week after contact with hepatitis A virus, the protection is about 80%.
If you can get this vaccine for free, contact the public health office in your area.
If you want the vaccine and need to pay for it, contact a travel health clinic or talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
There can be side effects from the HAV vaccine, but they tend to be mild and go away in a few days. Side effects may include:
It’s important to stay at the clinic for 15 minutes after your vaccine. Some people may have a rare but serious allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. If anaphylaxis happens, you will get medicine to treat the symptoms.
It’s rare to have a serious side effect. Call Health Link at 811 to report any serious or unusual side effects.
You may not be able to have the vaccine if you:
Check with your doctor or a public health nurse before you get the vaccine.
You can still have the vaccine if you have a mild illness such as a cold or fever. Always tell your healthcare provider if you have allergies or if you’ve had a side effect from a vaccine in the past.
What is hepatitis A?
Hepatitis A is an infection in the liver that is caused by a virus. Symptoms include poor appetite, nausea, feeling tired, fever, and yellow skin and eyes (jaundice). The symptoms can be serious and last for months.
One out of 4 adults who get hepatitis A need to be admitted to a hospital. It’s rare, but you can die from a hepatitis A infection.
Who is most at risk?
You are at high risk of getting hepatitis A if you:
People who have liver problems, have a weak immune system, or are over age 60 years are at higher risk for getting seriously ill if they get hepatitis A.
How does it spread?
Hepatitis A spreads through infected stool getting onto hands or into food and water, and then into the mouth.
Some people do not have symptoms but can still spread the disease.
Current as of: October 28, 2020
Author: Provincial Immunization Program, Alberta Health Services
This material is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified health professional. This material is intended for general information only and is provided on an "as is", "where is" basis. Although reasonable efforts were made to confirm the accuracy of the information, Alberta Health Services does not make any representation or warranty, express, implied or statutory, as to the accuracy, reliability, completeness, applicability or fitness for a particular purpose of such information. Alberta Health Services expressly disclaims all liability for the use of these materials, and for any claims, actions, demands or suits arising from such use.