Hepatitis A vaccine Type | Usage | Precautions | Side Effects
- Hepatitis A is caused by Hepatitis A virus (HAV), an RNA virus of the family Picornaviridae.
- It manifests acutely with fever, jaundice and malaise. The virus spreads by oro-enteral route and its transmission can be prevented by proper personal hygiene and sanitation.
- Inactivated (Killed) viral vaccine.
- Single Antigen: Vaccine containing Inactivated Hep A antigen.
- Combined: Hep A and Hep B combined vaccine.
(Single antigen Hep A vaccine will be discussed here.)
Vaccination is recommended for all children aged 1 year or older. Two doses are given, six months apart.
- Adults and at Risk Persons:
Any one older than 1 year age who is at risk of getting Hepatitis A or at risk of serious complications from Hepatitis A should be vaccinated with a two-dose course. Such people include:
- Persons traveling to or working in countries that have high rates of Hepatitis-A
- Men who have sex with men
- Users of illegal injection and non-injection drugs.
- Persons who have occupational risk for infection, like lab workers.
- Persons who have chronic liver disease.
- Persons who have clotting-factor disorders.
- Household members and other close personal contacts of adopted children newly arriving from countries where Hepatitis A is prevalent.
- Passive Immunization with Hep A Immunoglobulin (IG) is recommended along with Hep A vaccine for persons with risk factors who are travelling within two weeks. IG without the vaccine can also be used for children under 1 year old and for those people who are allergic to the vaccine.
- Previous Infection: People who’ve had Hepatitis A infection previously don’t need to be vaccinated because infection provides life-long immunity against Hepatitis A.
Should not be used in:
- Persons who had severe allergic reaction to a previous dose of the vaccine, or who are allergic to any component of the vaccine.
- Children younger than 12 months.
- The safety of hepatitis A vaccine in pregnant women has not been determined. But there is no evidence that it is harmful to either pregnant women or their unborn babies. The risk, if any, is thought to be very low.
- Acutely ill people may be advised to delay their vaccination until they are well again.