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Hepatitis B virus
Hepatitis B virus


The hepatitis B vaccine protects against hepatitis B, a serious disease that damages the liver. The vaccine is one of the recommended childhood immunizations.

Alternative Names:

Vaccine - hepatitis B; Immunization - hepatitis B



The hepatitis B vaccine is given to children in a a series of three injections (shots).

  • The first shot is given to infants before leaving the hospital. If the baby's mother carries the hepatitis B virus, the baby receives the first vaccine shortly after birth.
  • The second shot is given between 1 and 2 months of age.
  • The third shot is given at 6 months of age.

For infants who do not receive the first shot until 4 to 8 weeks, the second shot is given at 4 months and the third at 6 to 16 months. In either instance, the second and third shots are given along with other routine childhood immunizations.

Adolescents who have not been vaccinated should begin the hepatitis B vaccine series at the earliest possible date.


Most infants who receive the hepatitis B vaccine have no side effects. Others may have minor problems, such as soreness and redness at the injection site or a mild fever. Serious problems are rare and are mainly due to allergic reactions to a component of the vaccine.


If the child is ill with something more serious than a cold, the hepatitis B vaccine may be delayed.

If the child has a severe allergic reaction to baker's yeast, they should not receive this vaccine.

If severe allergic reaction occurs after receiving the vaccine, no further hepatitis B vaccines should be given to the child.


  • You are not sure if your child should receive this vaccine
  • Moderate or serious side effects appear after receiving the vaccine
  • You have any questions or concerns


American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Infectious Diseases. Recommended immunization schedules for children and adolescents--United States, 2008. Pediatrics. 2008 Jan;121(1):219-20.

Recommended Immunization Schedule for Persons Aged 7–18 Years--United States, 2008. MMWR. October 19, 2007 / 56(41);Q1-Q4.

Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. Recommended adult immunization schedule: United States, October 2007-September 2008. Ann Intern Med. 2007 Nov 20;147(10):725-9.

Review Date: 6/16/2008
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

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789 Central Avenue, Dover, NH 03820
Phone: (603) 742-5252
Toll free: 1 (877) 201-7100