Hepatitis B

The Disease

Hepatitis B is a disease that affects the liver. It is one of several hepatitis diseases (for example, hepatitis A and hepatitis C). These are caused by different germs, but are similar in that they all affect the liver ("hepatitis" comes from the Greek words for "liver" and "inflammation").


The Immunization

You can protect children from hepatitis B by getting them vaccinated with three doses of hepatitis B vaccine. Newborn babies whose mothers either are infected with the hepatitis B virus or have not been tested should get their first shot within 12 hours of birth, the second shot at 1-2 months of age, and the third shot at 6 months of age. Other babies should receive their first shot before they leave the hospital, the second at 1-2 months of age, and the third at 6-18 months of age. Some children may receive an additional dose at the age of 4 months if they are receiving a combination vaccine. This is permissible and these children should still receive their final dose between the ages of 6-18 months.


AAP Vaccine Recommendations


Quick Facts - What You Need to Know (PDF 29KB)

  • Why get vaccinated?

  • How is hepatitis B virus spread?

  • Who should get hepatitis B vaccine and when?

  • Some people should not get hepatitis B vaccine or should wait.

  • What are the risks from hepatitis B vaccine?

  • What if there is a moderate or severe reaction?


Other Resources


Last Updated: 7/13/2012


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