Immunization protects you from disease.Get protected, get immunized.
This vaccine is given to people with liver problems and to those at risk for contact with the hepatitis A virus.
Talk to a public health nurse to find out if you qualify for HAV vaccine for free. A blood test may be needed to check if you need the vaccine (are not already protected).
Some people (e.g., travellers) may benefit from HAV vaccine, but it is not free. Check with your health insurance provider as some plans may cover the cost.
Most people need 2 doses, which are given 6 to 18 months apart.
Some people may have already received hepatitis A vaccine as part of a combined vaccine with hepatitis B (e.g., Twinrix®) or as part of a combined vaccine with typhoid (Vivaxim®).
Check with your healthcare provider to find out if you need more doses.
If you are immunized before contact with the hepatitis A virus, the vaccine is about 90% to 97% effective in preventing the illness.
The vaccine is about 80% effective if it is given within 1 week after contact with the virus.
Anyone who qualifies for free vaccine can contact the public health office in their area.
If you do not qualify for free vaccine, you need to pay for it and should contact a travel health clinic (e.g.,
AHS Travel Health Services) or speak to your doctor or pharmacist.
Reactions to the vaccine are usually mild and go away in a few days. They may include:
It is important to stay at the clinic for 15 minutes after immunization because people can have a rare but serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis). If anaphylaxis happens, you will be given medicine to treat the symptoms.
Unusual reactions can happen. Call Health Link at 811 to report any unusual reactions.
Some people with health problems (e.g., weak immune system) must call their doctor whenever they get a fever. If you have been told to do this, call your doctor—even if you think the fever was due to immunization.
You may not be able to have the vaccine if you:
You can be immunized if you have a mild illness (e.g., cold), even if you have a fever.
What it is
Who is most at risk
People who have the highest risk of getting hepatitis A are those who:
People who already have liver problems, have a weak immune system, or are over 60 years of age are at highest risk for more serious illness if they get hepatitis A.
How it spreads
Current as of: January 1, 2019
Author: Immunization Program, Alberta Health Services
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