Hepatitis A Vaccine Recommendations and Safety

Adult Vaccination

Hepatitis A Vaccination is recommended for any person seeking protection from hepatitis A virus (HAV) infection and persons with any of the following indications:

  • men who have sex with men and persons who use injection or non-injection illicit drugs;
  • persons working with HAV-infected primates or with HAV in a research laboratory setting;
  • persons with chronic liver disease and persons who receive clotting factor concentrates;
  • persons traveling to or working in countries that have high or intermediate endemicity of Hepatitis A;
  • unvaccinated persons who anticipate close personal contact (e.g., household or regular babysitting) with an international adoptee during the first 60 days after arrival in the United States from a country with high or intermediate endemicity. The first dose of the 2-dose hepatitis A vaccine series should be administered as soon as adoption is planned, ideally 2 or more weeks before the arrival of the adoptee.

Single-antigen vaccine formulations should be administered in a 2-dose schedule at either 0 and 6 to 12 months (Havrix), or 0 and 6 to 18 months (Vaqta). If the combined hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccine (Twinrix) is used, administer 3 doses at 0, 1, and 6 months; alternatively, a 4-dose schedule may be used, administered on days 0, 7, and 21 to 30 followed by a booster dose at month 12.


Two hepatitis A vaccines, Harvix (GlaxoSmithKline) and Vaqta (Merck & Co, Inc.), are licensed in the United States. Both vaccines are inactivated and have age-based dosing schedules. They are approved for individuals aged 12 months and older. An inactivated hepatitis A and B combination vaccine, Twinrix (GlaxoSmithKline), was licensed in 2001 for persons older than 18 years. Twinrix may be used on an accelerated schedule for persons susceptible to hepatitis A and B who are planning imminent travel to endemic areas.

The hepatitis A vaccine should not be given to patients who have had a severe allergic reaction (eg, anaphylaxis) after a previous vaccine dose or to a vaccine component (eg, alum, 2-phenoxyethanol). Vaqta should not be given to individuals with a neomycin allergy. The tip caps of prefilled syringes for Havrix may contain natural rubber latex; patients allergic to latex should be given Vaqta with caution.

A vaccine, like any medicine, could possibly cause serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions. The risk of hepatitis A vaccine causing serious harm, or death, is extremely small.

Getting hepatitis A vaccine is much safer than getting the disease.

Mild Problems

  • soreness where the shot was given (about 1 out of 2 adults, and up to 1 out of 6 children)
  • headache (about 1 out of 6 adults and 1 out of 25 children)
  • loss of appetite (about 1 out of 12 children)
  • tiredness (about 1 out of 14 adults)
  • If these problems occur, they usually last 1 or 2 days

Severe Problems

  • serious allergic reaction, within a few minutes to a few hours after the shot (very rare).


For more information regarding Hepatitis A vaccine safety, visit CDC's webpage Hepatitis A Vaccine Safety

Source: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/side-effects.htm#hepa



Updated 10/16/15

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