Children should receive a 2-dose HepA vaccine series starting at 12 through 23 months; separate the 2 doses by 6 to 18 months. Children who have received 1 dose of HepA vaccine before age 24 months should receive a second dose 6 to 18 months after the first dose.
For any person aged 2 years and older who has not already received the HepA vaccine series, 2 doses of HepA vaccine separated by 6 to 18 months may be administered if immunity against hepatitis A virus infection is desired.
Hepatitis A Vaccination is recommended for any person seeking protection from hepatitis A virus (HAV) infection and persons with any of the following indications:
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 (e.g. anaphylaxis) after a previous vaccine dose or to a vaccine component (e.g. 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.
For more information regarding Hepatitis A vaccine safety, visit CDC's webpage Hepatitis A Vaccine Safety