What is the best way to prevent hepatitis B?
  • Vaccination reliably provides protection against hepatitis B infection
  • For full effect, three shots of vaccine are needed to give long-term protection
Who should be vaccinated?
  • All children and adolescents younger than 19 years of age who have not been vaccinated
  • All those at higher risk for getting hepatitis B (see "Who is at Risk")
  • Health care workers
  • Anyone with a household member who has hepatitis B
  • Residents and staff of long-term care facilities
  • People with chronic liver and kidney disease
  • Persons traveling to a country with moderate to high rates of hepatitis B
  • People with HIV infection
  • Vaccination is not useful if you already have hepatitis B
Pregnancy and hepatitis B
  • All women in the United States and Canada are tested for hepatitis B virus during pregnancy
  • If a pregnant woman has hepatitis B there is a risk of spread of the infection to the baby during childbirth
  • Transmission can be prevented in almost all cases by giving the infant:
    • a shot of hepatitis B immune globulin (HBIG) within 12 hours of birth
    • the first shot of hepatitis B vaccine within 12 hours of birth
    • a total of 3 shots of the vaccine over 6 months are needed to be fully protected
  • Infants of mothers with hepatitis B should be tested after completion of the vaccination series:
    • to confirm that the vaccine has provided protection
    • to make sure that the infant did not get infected with hepatitis B
Universal vaccination
  • Every infant should get vaccinated for hepatitis B (even if their mother does not have hepatitis B)
  • The first of three shots should be given before the infant leaves the hospital