Immunization, hepatitis B: Hepatitis B (hep B) vaccine gives prolonged protection, but 3 shots over a half year are usually required. In the U.S., all infants receive hep B vaccine. Two vaccines (Engerix-B, and Recombivax-HB) are available in the US. The first dose of hep B vaccine is frequently given while the newborn is in the hospital or at the first doctor visit following birth. The second dose is given about 30 days after the initial dose. A booster dose is performed approximately six months later. Babies born to mothers testing positive for hep B receive, in addition, HBIG (hep B immune globulin) for prompt protection. Older children (11-12 years) are advised to receive a hep B booster as are adults in high-risk situations including healthcare workers, dentists, intimate and household contacts of patients with chronic hep B infection, male homosexuals, individuals with multiple sexual partners, dialysis patients, IV drug users, and recipients of repeated transfusions. Health care workers accidentally exposed to materials infected with hep B (such as needle sticks), and individuals with known sexual contact with hep B patients are usually given both HBIG and vaccine to provide immediate and long term protection.
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