Topics covered in this snack-sized chapter:
Hepatitis A vaccination is recommended for all children starting at age 1 year, travelers to certain countries, and others at risk.
A safe and effective formalin inactivated alum conjugated vaccine containing HAV grown in human diploid cell culture is available.
A full course containing two intramuscular injections of the vaccine.
Protection starts after 4 weeks after injection and lasts for 10 – 20 years.
Hepatitis B vaccine, usually a three-dose series, is recommended for all children 0-18 years of age.
It is recommended for infants beginning at birth in the hospital.
All older children who did not get all the recommended doses of hepatitis B vaccine as an infant should complete their vaccine series as soon as possible.
Most states require hepatitis B vaccine for school entry.
Adolescents who are just starting their series will need two or three doses, depending on their age and the brand of vaccine used.
Adults at increased risk of acquiring HBV infection should also be vaccinated.
In addition, the vaccine can be given to any person who desires protection from hepatitis B.
There are vaccines for hepatitis A and hepatitis B.
If you have hepatitis C, your doctor may want you to take the vaccine for hepatitis B (and maybe the vaccine for hepatitis A), if you don't already have these viruses.
If you have hepatitis C, you are more likely to catch hepatitis A or hepatitis B, which would cause more damage to your liver.
Hepatitis D doesn't have its own vaccine, but it can be prevented with the hepatitis B vaccine.
This is because the hepatitis D virus is unusual.
It can only infect someone who has hepatitis B because it's a "defective virus."
HDV doesn't have the necessary viral equipment to replicate itself.
By preventing hepatitis B infection, you can also prevent hepatitis D infection.
At present, no commercially available vaccines exist for the prevention of hepatitis E.
Several studies for the development of an effective vaccine against hepatitis E are in progress:
- So, to get around this problem, HDV depends on the hepatitis B virus for replication.