Hepatitis B Vaccines

Safety Information

About Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus. It is spread when infected blood, semen, or another body fluid enters the body of a person who is not infected. This can happen through sexual contact, using syringes, needles, or other drug-injection equipment previously used by an infected person, or from mother to baby at birth. The virus can spread from an infected individual even if they do not look or feel sick.

For some people, hepatitis B is an illness lasting 1 to 3 months, with symptoms that can include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, clay-colored bowel movements, joint pain, and jaundice (yellow color in the skin or eyes). But for others, it can become a chronic (long-term) infection that may last a lifetime and might not have symptoms for many years. Risk for chronic infection is related to age at infection: approximately 90% of infected infants become chronically infected, compared with 2%–6% of adults. Chronic hepatitis B can lead to serious health issues, like cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) or liver cancer.

Learn more about hepatitis B.

The following vaccines can protect against hepatitis B.

Vaccine Information Statements

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

Available Vaccines

There are 7 licensed hepatitis B-containing vaccines currently available in the United States: 4 vaccines that protect against hepatitis B only, 1 vaccine that protects against both hepatitis A and B, and 2 childhood vaccines that protect against hepatitis B and other diseases.

Who Should Get Hepatitis B Vaccine

Hepatitis B vaccine is given as a series of 2, 3, or 4 shots, depending on the vaccine formula and health needs of the person getting vaccinated. CDC recommends hepatitis B vaccine for:

  • All infants within 24 hours of birth (usually 3 doses completed over a 6-month period)
  • Children and adolescents younger than 19 years of age who have not yet gotten the vaccine

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  • People who are at increased risk of hepatitis B due to travel to certain countries, exposure to blood in the workplace, household or sexual exposure to an infected person, injection drug use or certain medical conditions
  • Anyone who wants protection against hepatitis B

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

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

Manufacturer Package Inserts

Common Side Effects

Vaccines, like any medicine, can have side effects. Many people who get a hepatitis B vaccine have no side effects at all. The most common side effects include injection site pain, soreness, or redness, headache, and fatigue, and are usually mild lasting 1-2 days.

Hepatitis B vaccines
  • Pain, soreness, redness, or swelling in the arm where the shot was given
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability, diarrhea, loss of appetite in healthy infants and children who received (Recombivax, Vaxelis, Pediarix)
  • Vomiting, crying, drowsiness in children (Vaxelis, Pediarix)

Who Should Not Get Hepatitis B Vaccine

Tell your vaccine provider if the person getting the vaccine:

  • Has had a severe allergic reaction, such as anaphylaxis, after a previous dose or any component of the vaccine they are getting
  • Has a yeast allergy
  • Has had an allergic reaction to neomycin (if they are getting Twinrix)

Note: PREHEVBRIO vaccine is the only hepatitis B vaccine that does not contain yeast, making it safe for people who are allergic to yeast.
Note: Until safety data are available, providers should not vaccinate pregnant women needing hepatitis B vaccination with Heplisav-B.

Women who might have received Heplisav-B during pregnancy (usually before knowing they are pregnant) are encouraged to enroll in the Heplisav-B pregnancy registry. Contact Dynavax Technologies Corporation, phone: 1-844-443-7734.

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 B vaccine.

More information about contraindications and precautions.

More Information

Severe allergic reactions following vaccination are rare but can be life threatening.
Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction can 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.People should tell their healthcare provider about any allergies they have before getting any vaccine.

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 VAERS.

A Closer Look at the Safety Data

Which adverse events are considered “serious?”

By the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Title 21 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.

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.

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