Hepatitis B Vaccine
What Is the Hepatitis B Vaccine, and How Effective Is It?
The hepatitis B vaccine contains a protein (antigen) that stimulates the body to make protective antibodies. Examples of hepatitis B vaccines available in the United States include hepatitis b vaccine-injection (Engerix-B, Recombivax-HB). Three doses (given at 0, 1, and 6 months of age) are necessary to assure protection. There are also combination vaccines on the market that provide protection against hepatitis B and other diseases.
Other examples of the hepatitis B vaccine include:
- Hepatitis-b-hepatitis-a vaccine - injection (Twinrix), which provides protection against both hepatitis A and hepatitis B.
- Haemophilus B/hepatitis B vaccine - injection (Comvax) provides protection against hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenzae type b (a cause of meningitis).
- Pediarix provides protection against hepatitis B, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), and polio.
Hepatitis B vaccines are effective and safe. Up to 95% of vaccinated individuals form effective antibodies when they get the vaccine and are protected from hepatitis B. In healthcare workers, high-risk public safety workers, dialysis patients, and sexual partners of infected persons, a blood test for antibodies is recommended after vaccination to ensure that the person produced antibodies. For the few who do not form antibodies, revaccination may improve response, especially in infants. However, a small proportion of individuals will never respond to hepatitis B vaccination.