Characteristics of Hepatitis B Vaccines
- Protects against disease in those who have not already been infected
- Recombinant produced, inactivated viral antigen vaccines are genetically engineered, so there is no risk of contracting the HB virus through them; however, plasma-derived vaccines are used in many other countries
- Two immunization products are available
- Engerix - B ®
- Recombivax - HB ®
- There seems to be a diminished response to hepatitis B vaccine in older people, obese individuals, and smokers
Administration of Vaccine for Adults
Dose/Route: Recombivax - HB ® or Engerix - B ®
- 1.0 ml, intramuscular, preferably in the deltoid muscle (avoid buttock)
- PRIMARY: three doses - give second and third doses one month and six months, respectively, after first dose
- BOOSTER: The need for a booster has not yet been determined, but will most likely be every 7 - 10 years for high risk groups
- Ideally, vaccinations should begin at least 6 months before travel to high risk areas to allow for completion of the full vaccine series.
- Engerix - B ® has been approved for use in a four-dose series with the first three doses given at one-month intervals and the fourth dose given 10 months after the third dose. This schedule is recommended for postexposure prophylaxis or for more rapid immunity for international travel.
- Per the American Academy of Pediatrics, a partial series offers protection during travel if three doses one month apart can be delivered before travel.
Who Should Consider Hepatitis B Vaccination?
- The American Academy of Pediatrics, American College Health Association, and Center for Disease Control recommend Hepatitis B immunization for all college students (if this has not been previously given in childhood or adolescence).
- All those persons who may be at high risk of Hepatitis B infection should be given the immunization (please see fact sheet).
- If a person is "Hepatitis B antibody positive" from a prior Hepatitis B infection, they will not benefit from hepatitis B vaccination and can, therefore, avoid the expense of the vaccine series. International travelers may be tested for the antibody for hepatitis B if they were born or have lived in endemic areas.
Who Should Not Be Vaccinated?
- Those with a systemic allergy to yeast
- Some pregnant or nursing mothers
- Those who have had a serious reaction to any former hepatitis B vaccine
What Are the Potential Side Effects of the Vaccines?
UCSB students are encouraged to come to the Advice Nurse office for an order to begin vaccination against this very preventable disease. Some students may save money by obtaining the vaccine through their own primary care provider or HMO.
- The vaccine is well tolerated; soreness at the injection site may occur, but is mild and temporary. Serious reactions are extremely rare. Thimerisol sensitivity is not usually a contradiction.