Get protected, get immunized.
The hepatitis B vaccine protects against the hepatitis B virus (HBV).
Hepatitis B is an infection in the liver that’s caused by a virus. Symptoms include poor appetite, stomach pain, nausea (feeling sick to your stomach), vomiting (throwing up), and jaundice (yellow skin and eyes). Some people don’t have any symptoms.
One out of 10 adults who are infected with hepatitis B have an infection that doesn’t go away (called a chronic infection):
Around the world each year, 500,000 to 1.2 million people die from hepatitis B-related disease.
Anyone can get hepatitis B. Almost 1 out of 3 people who have it don’t have any risk factors.
You have the highest risk if:
Hepatitis B spreads by having contact with the blood and body fluids of a person who is infected. It can spread through:
Grade 6 students can get the hepatitis B vaccine in school. If you were born in 1981 or later and didn’t get all the recommended doses in school, you can get the hepatitis B vaccine for free.
You should also get this vaccine if you’re at risk for hepatitis B because of:
Talk to a public health nurse to find out if you can get the hepatitis B vaccine for free.
You may also benefit from the vaccine if you travel to an area that has a high risk of hepatitis B. 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.
Students in Grade 6 need 2 doses, 6 months apart.
Most other people need 3 doses over 6 months.
If you have certain health problems, such as kidney problems, or you've had an organ or stem cell transplant, you may need more doses. Ask your healthcare provider how many doses you need.
There are 2 other vaccines that protect against hepatitis B.
If you’re healthy and get all the recommended doses, the protection for hepatitis B is 95% to 100%.
Grade 6 students can get the vaccine in school. Grade 9 students who missed getting the vaccine at the usual time can also get it in school. Parents and guardians will get information about hepatitis B and the vaccine. If you want your child to get the vaccine in school, you must fill out the consent form and return it to the school.
If you need the vaccine because of your work or what you study (such as some healthcare workers), talk to your workplace health and safety department or your student health services department.
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 hepatitis B 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 after a vaccine. Call Health Link at 811 to report any serious or unusual side effects.
You may not be able to get this vaccine if you:
Check with your doctor or a public health nurse before you get the vaccine.
You can still get the vaccine if you have a mild illness, such as a cold or fever.
Many adults and children are afraid of needles. You can do many things before, during, and after immunization to be more comfortable. Visit
Commitment to Comfort for tips to make immunization a better experience.
Current as of: July 4, 2022
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.