Hepatitis A Vaccine
Nitin Shah
Consultant Pediatrician, Nanavati Hospital, B J Wadia Hospital for Children, Mumbai, India
First Created: 01/09/2001  Last Updated: 01/09/2001

Patient Education

What is Hepatitis A vaccine?

Hepatitis A vaccine protects against Hepatitis A - a virus that leads to jaundice and infection of the liver.

Which Hepatitis -A vaccines are available?

There are 2 types of Hepatitis A vaccine available - live viral vaccine and killed vaccine.

What is the dose, mode, and schedule of administration?

The dose recommended is a single dose of the live vaccine to be administered subcutaneously and the killed vaccine at 2 doses separated by 6 months intramuscularly in a child above 1 year of age.

What are the side effects of hepatitis - A vaccine?

The side effects are very rare and mild. Local side effects seen include redness, swelling in <5%, and pain at the injection site seen in <20% cases. Systemic side effects like mild fever, headache, and malaise can be seen in 10 - 20% of cases.

What are the contraindications?

Killed Hepatitis - A vaccine also contains aluminum hydroxide and phenoxyethanol. Hence patients known to have hypersensitivity to these agents should not be given the vaccine. It is also contraindicated during pregnancy. The live vaccine does not contain aluminum hydroxide.

Who should be vaccinated?

Though Hepatitis A is a self-limiting disease, there is no effective treatment. In addition, there is occasional mortality due to fulminant hepatitis, especially in adolescents and adults. Thus primary immunization may be recommended for pre-exposure prophylaxis in individuals who are at increased risk of the infection such as:

  • Foreign traveler: Those staying in low endemic areas for Hepatitis A do not develop natural immunity till adulthood. Such persons are at risk of developing Hepatitis A when they visit an area with high endemicity. If such a person is going to stay for <3 months, Hepatitis A immunoglobulin can be enough to prevent hepatitis-A. If the stay is going to be prolonged it is better to give the vaccine.
  • Patients with chronic liver disease who may be at increased risk of fulminant hepatitis A

  • During epidemics: Whenever there is an outbreak of Hepatitis A in a community

  • IV drug abusers

  • Those who have occupation hazards like staff working in laboratories, food handlers, health personnel, zookeepers, veterinarians, emergency relief workers, and members of armed forces.

  • Those who work in day-care centers or schools or institutionalized children etc.

    Children from a higher socio-economic group who may not have had natural infection may be given the Hepatitis A vaccine.

Can hepatitis-A vaccine be given along with other vaccines?

Yes, the hepatitis-A vaccine can be given along with any other vaccine provided one uses separate syringes and separate sites for different vaccines.


1. Nelson NP, Murphy TV Hepatitis A: the changing epidemiology of hepatitis A. Clin Liver Dis. 2013 Dec 20; 2(6):227–30.Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP) recommended immunization schedule for children aged 0 through 18 years, India, 2013 and updates on immunization. Indian Pediatr. 2013;50:1095-108Red Book 2015; Vaccine Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/acip-recs/Travelers health, CDC: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2016/infectious-diseases-related-to-travel/hepatitis-a

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