What is Hepatitis B?
Hepatitis B is a serious viral infection of the Liver. Acute hepatitis infection happens more commonly in adults than children and the symptoms only lasts for a while. During the acute hepatitis B infection, one will experience fatigue, loss of appetite, appears jaundice (yellow discoloration of skin and sclera of eyes), pain in the joints, muscles, abdomen pain and also diarrhea and vomiting.
Chronic long standing hepatitis b infection makes the person infectious meaning they can spread the virus to others through sexual contact and blood transmission. They often may not have any symptoms. However chronic hepatitis B infection leads to liver damage, cirrhosis (replacement of healthy liver tissue with fibrous tissue) and eventually causing hepatic carcinoma (Liver Cancer) and eventually death.
How is Hepatitis B transmitted?
Hepatitis B can be transmitted through blood, body fluids and sexual transmission. It can also be caused transmitted from mother to child during childbirth.
Why you need Hepatitis B vaccination?
Hepatitis B vaccine gives long term protection against hepatitis B virus which will lead to liver cirrhosis and liver cancer. Since the 1980s, many countries have implemented hepatitis B vaccination into the childhood immunization programme.
How many Hepatitis B vaccine shots are required?
Vaccinations start during infancy. The first dose is given at birth. The second dose is given from 1-2 months old. The third dose is given 6-12 months old. Infant born to mothers who are Hepatitis B carrier will be given Hepatitis B Immunoglobin Jab at birth to reduce risk of contracting the virus.
Adults who have not been vaccinated before and those who do not have enough Hepatitis B antibodies should undergo the 3 doses vaccination to at 0, 1 and 6 months interval.
Is there any risk of Hepatitis B vaccine?
Hepatitis B is not a live vaccine hence vaccination will not cause active hepatitis infection. It is a very safe vaccine which is very well tolerated. It should not be given to people who are allergic to the contents of the vaccine.
Some people may feel soreness and swelling at injection sites which will resolve by itself. About 1 in 15 person may develop low grade fever which will go away with anti-pyretic.