The hepatitis B vaccine protects against infection with the hepatitis B virus. A hepatitis B infection can damage the liver and lead to liver cancer.
The vaccine is given to adults in three or four doses. You receive the shots in your upper arm. After you get all the doses, you will be protected for at least 15 years. This vaccine is safe for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
If you are exposed to hepatitis B before you get all the shots, you may need a hepatitis B immunoglobulin (HBIG) shot. This gives you instant protection. The HBIG shot will prevent infection until your hepatitis B vaccine takes effect.
The vaccine may cause pain at the injection site. It can also cause a mild fever for a short time. You should not get the hepatitis B vaccine if you are allergic to baker's yeast. This is the kind of yeast used to make bread. And you should not get the next dose if you had a bad reaction to the first shot.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Ask your doctor about when you need the next shot.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of:
February 9, 2016
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
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