Hepatitis B is a viral infection which can cause serious liver disease. It is usually spread sexually and by contact with infected blood or body fluids (e.g. puncture of the skin with contaminated needles). Vaccination is recommended for long-stay travellers, and those at risk due to their medical history, activities or work.
Travellers will receive an active vaccine. This is a genetically manufactured preparation of hepatitis B virus protein (“antigen”).
Travellers to areas of high or intermediate prevalence who place themselves at risk when abroad should be offered immunisation. The behaviours that place them at risk will include sexual activity, injecting drug use, undertaking relief aid work and/or participating in contact sports. Travellers are also at risk of acquiring infection as a result of medical or dental procedures carried out in countries where unsafe therapeutic injections are a possibility.
Additional vaccine information: The vaccine is available combined with hepatitis A vaccine.
There are several different schedules of vaccination. Usually we advise three doses at 0, 1 and 6 months.
General issues: Patients who have had a serious reaction (”anaphylaxis”) to a previous dose of this vaccine or its constituents. Specific issues: Vaccination should not replace other protective measures against infection, for example the use of condoms.
There is no evidence of risk.
Very few. Temporary tenderness at the site of the injection.