Hepatitis B

About the Vaccine:

The hepatitis B vaccine provides the best protection against infection. Completing the full series is required for full protection and results in immunity for life in most cases.


Who should get the vaccine:

  • Babies
  • Children

Poblaciones de alto riesgo:

It is vitally important to protect babies by vaccinating them soon after birth. Infants exposed to hepatitis B have a  90 percent chance of contracting a lifelong infection that can lead to liver failure and death. They can contract the disease from family members, caretakers or others who may not even know they have the disease.

Schedule information:

  • Babies born to infected mothers should receive the vaccine within 12 hours of birth.
  • All babies should receive the vaccine within 24 hours of birth.
  • Second dose at 1-2 months.
  • Third dose at 6-18 months.
  • Older children and adults who require the vaccine should receive 2-3 doses, depending on the vaccine used.

The hepatitis B virus is 100 times more infectious than the AIDS virus. Yet, hepatitis B can be prevented with a safe and effective vaccine.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Safety & side effects:

Just as with any medication, there are potential side effects to vaccines. Talk to your health care provider about specific side effects associated with this vaccine and learn more about vaccine safety and common side effects.

Pregnancy considerations:

Of infants born to infected mothers in the U.S., approximately 4 in 10 will develop chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. One-fourth of infants with chronic HBV infection eventually die from chronic liver disease.

Infection in infants born to HBV-infected women is preventable by providing hepatitis B immune globulin and hepatitis B vaccine to the infant within 12 hours of birth.


  • All expecting mothers should be screened for HBsAg.
  • Infants born to infected mothers should receive the vaccine and hepatitis B immune globulin within 12 hours of birth. They should complete the vaccinations series at 6 months.
  • All infants should receive the vaccine within 24 hours of birth.

About Hep B:

Hepatitis B (hep B) is a serious disease caused by a virus that attacks the liver. The hepatitis B virus (HBV) is spread through contact with infected blood or other body fluids. The diseases can be temporary or cause lifelong complications, including cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver, liver cancer, liver failure and death. Infants are at the highest risk of developing a chronic infection.


Hep B is transmitted when the bodily fluids of an infected person enter the bloodstream of a non-infected person through:

  • Birth from mother to child
  • Contact with blood or open sores
  • Sharing toothbrushes or other personal items
  • Food chewed for a baby

The virus can also survive on the surface of objects for seven days or more.

Pregnant mothers who are infected with hep B can pass the disease to their children, but this can be prevented through treatment and vaccines.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Most people with acute hep B do not have symptoms, but they may develop chronic hepatitis over time. When present, acute symptoms can last several weeks and up to six months. Typical symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Tiredness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal or joint pain
  • Dark urine
  • Jaundice (yellow skin or eyes)

Chronic infection can lead to more serious complications such as:

  • Cirrhosis
  • Liver cancer

Hepatitis B is the most common serious liver infection in the world. It is caused by the hepatitis B virus that attacks liver cells and can lead to liver failure and liver cancer.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention