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Hepatitis B (HBV) is a virus that can cause liver disease. It’s extremely contagious. The virus can be spread by infected blood or body fluids, including through:
HBV can spread from a pregnant mother to her child.
The hepatitis B (HepB) vaccine is given in three doses, over six months. It’s used for at-risk individuals and anyone who wants protection from HBV.
The HepB vaccine is recommended for many groups of individuals, including:
The HepB vaccine is a very safe way to reduce your risk of HBV. Most people should consider vaccination. However, you don’t need the vaccine if you are infected or immune. Tests are available to determine if you have been previously exposed to HBV.
Certain individuals shouldn’t receive the HepB vaccine, including those with:
The HepB vaccine is considered to be very safe. However, many people have soreness at the site of the shot. A temperature of 99.9 degrees or higher is also not uncommon.
Severe side effects like serious allergic reactions are extremely rare.
Written by: Amy Boulanger
Medically reviewed on: Dec 04, 2014: George Krucik, MD, MBA
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