The hepatitis A vaccine helps to protect you against the hepatitis A virus, which is spread by infected faeces. Hepatitis A vaccine side effects are uncommon and usually mild, such as headache and fever. Hepatitis A can become serious if you are infected, but the vaccine can help you avoid this, and protection lasts 25 years.
The hepatitis A vaccine lasts 25 years. A full course includes two doses, which you must get a minimum of 182 days apart.
However, you can travel and be protected after just one dose.
You can get the hepatitis A vaccine anytime before you travel.
Like all medicines and vaccines, the hepatitis A vaccine can cause side effects, but most people do not experience any at all.
If you do experience hepatitis A vaccine side effects, they are very unlikely to be serious.
Possible hepatitis A vaccine side effects include:
temporary soreness where you had the injection
a small, painless lump where you had the injection
loss of appetite
If your hepatitis A vaccine side effects do not improve, or become worse, you should talk to your doctor.
Generally, everyone travelling to a destination where there is a high risk of being infected with hepatitis A should check if they need the hepatitis A vaccine.
Especially gay men, drug users, people who are in close contact with an infected person, people who may be exposed to the disease when at work, such as doctors, and people with any type of long-term liver disease, are recommended to check if they need the hepatitis A vaccine.
But even though the hepatitis A injection is given to the majority of people who need prevention against the disease, it can cause problems for some. This includes people who:
are allergic to any of the ingredients of the vaccine
are currently unwell with a fever
have a reduced immune system, for example from HIV
have blood problems, like easy bruising or bleeding
are on dialysis for a kidney problem
already have hepatitis A or are in contact with it
are pregnant or breastfeeding
are planning to have a baby
If you belong to any of these groups or you are unsure whether you should get the hepatitis A vaccine, you can book a free phone consultation with one of our prescribing nurses for a personal assessment.
If there is a risk of hepatitis A at your destination, it is recommended that you check whether you need the vaccine, as the disease can be fatal. For the cost of the hepatitis A vaccine, see below.
Anne Marie Major, Independent Nurse Prescriber
June 25, 2019