Hepatitis A Vaccines

Safety Information

About Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus. It can range from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months. Although rare, hepatitis A can cause death in some people. Hepatitis A usually spreads when a person unknowingly ingests the virus from food, drinks, or objects contaminated by stool (poop) from an infected person. Hepatitis A can also spread from close personal contact with an infected person such as through sex or caring for someone who is ill.

Most adults with hepatitis A have symptoms that include fatigue, loss of appetite, stomach pain, nausea, and jaundice (skin becomes yellow). It usually resolves within 2 months of infection. Most children younger than 6 years of age do not have symptoms or have an unrecognized infection.

Learn more about hepatitis A.

There are safe and effective vaccines than can protect against hepatitis A.

Vaccine Information Statements

Vaccine Information Statements (VISs) are information sheets produced by CDC that explain both the benefits and risks of a vaccine.


Talk with your
healthcare provider
about vaccines.


They can answer questions and
offer advice based on your
specific health needs.

Available Vaccines

There are 3 hepatitis A vaccines approved for use in the United States: 2 single antigen vaccines and 1 combination vaccine.

Who Should Get Hepatitis A Vaccine

CDC recommends 2 doses of hepatitis A vaccine, given at least 6 months apart for:

  • All children, beginning at 1 year
  • People with unstable housing or experiencing homelessness
  • People who are at increased risk for infection
  • People who are at increased risk for complications from hepatitis A
  • Anyone who wants protection against hepatitis A

For more information, see Who should get vaccinated against hepatitis A.

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Child and Adult Immunization Schedules
Get CDC’s official recommended immunization schedules for children, adolescents, and adults.

Manufacturer Package Inserts

Common Side Effects

Hepatitis A vaccines are safe and effective at preventing hepatitis A infections. Vaccines, like any medicine, can have side effects. The common side effects are usually mild and last 1-2 days.

Important!

Severe allergic reactions following vaccination are rare, but can be life threatening.
Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction may include hives, swelling of the face and throat, difficulty breathing, a fast heartbeat, dizziness, and weakness.

If such reactions occur, call 9-1-1 and get the person to the nearest hospital.

Hepatitis A Vaccines

Common Side Effects

  • Swelling, tenderness, redness, warmth, or a hard lump where the shot was given
  • Low fever
  • General ill feeling
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headache

Who Should Not Get Hepatitis A Vaccine

Tell your vaccine provider if the person getting the vaccine:

  • Has had an allergic reaction after a previous dose or any component of the hepatitis A vaccine
  • Has had an allergic reaction to
    • Neomycin
    • Yeast (contraindication for Twinrix)

People with minor illnesses, such as a cold, may be vaccinated. People who are moderately or severely ill should usually wait until they recover before getting hepatitis A vaccine.

More information about contraindications and precautions.

More Information
Report Possible Adverse Events To VAERS

The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) is an early warning system, co-managed by CDC and FDA, that monitors for potential vaccine safety problems.

Healthcare providers and vaccine manufacturers are required by law to report certain adverse events following vaccination to VAERS; patients and caregivers can also submit reports.

For more information, see Report an Adverse Event to VAERSexternal icon.

A Closer Look at the Safety Data

Findings from vaccine safety monitoring systems and scientific studies have shown that hepatitis A vaccines have a favorable safety profile—the body of scientific evidence overwhelmingly supports their safety.

Which adverse events are considered “serious”?

By regulation, an adverse event is defined as seriousexternal icon if it involves any of the following outcomes:

  • Death
  • A life-threatening adverse event
  • A persistent or significant disability or incapacity
  • A congenital anomaly or birth defect
  • Hospitalization, or prolongation of existing hospitalization

Learn more about adverse events.

How CDC Monitors Vaccine Safety

CDC and FDA monitor the safety of vaccines after they are approved. If a problem is found with a vaccine, CDC and FDA will inform health officials, health care providers, and the public.

CDC uses 3 systems to monitor vaccine safety:

Related Scientific Articles

Moro PL, Museru O, Niu M, Lewis P, Broder K. Reports to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System After Hepatitis A and Hepatitis AB Vaccines in Pregnant Women.external icon Am J, Obstet Gynecol. 2014 Jun;210(6): 561.e1-6.

Karali Z, Basaranoglu ST, Karali Y, Oral B, Kilic SS.  Autoimmunity and hepatitis A vaccine in childrenexternal icon. J Investig Allergol Clin Immuno. 2011;21(5):389-93.

Fiore AE, Wasley A, Bell BP. Prevention of Hepatitis A Through Active or Passive Immunization: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). MMWR Recomm and Reps. 2006 May 16;55(RR07):1-23.

Woo EJ, Miller NB, Ball R, VAERS Working Group. Adverse events after hepatitis A B combination vaccineexternal icon. Vaccine. 2006 Mar 24;24(14):2685-91.

Black S, Shinefield H, Hansen J, Lewis E, Su L, Coplan P. A post-licensure evaluation of the safety of inactivated hepatitis A vaccine (VAQTA, Merck) in children and adultsexternal icon. Vaccine. 2004 Jan 26;22(5-6):766-72.

Niu MT, Salive M, Kruger C, Ellenberg SS. Two-year review of hepatitis A vaccine safety:  Data from the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS)external iconClin Infect Dis. 1998 Jun;26(6):1475-6.