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How is the hepatitis B vaccine given?

for Veterans and the Public

How is the hepatitis B vaccine given?

The hepatitis B vaccine is a "recombinant vaccine," which means that it is a fragment of the hepatitis B virus that has been produced in a laboratory. The vaccination for hepatitis B is given as 3 injections over a 6-month period--an initial dose, followed by a second dose 1 month later, and a third dose 5 months after the second.

If you need hepatitis A vaccination in addition to hepatitis B, you can do these individually or as a combined vaccine that covers both. The combination vaccine is given as 3 injections over a 6-month period--an initial dose, followed by a second dose 1 month later, and a third dose 5 months after the second.

If you are not able to get the shots on time, it is not necessary to restart the series, but you should continue from the last dose given. Babies born to mothers who have chronic hepatitis B should get the first shot within 12 hours after birth, followed by a second shot 1 month later, and the third shot 5 months after the second. Babies born to mothers who are not infected with the hepatitis B virus should get the first shot within 1 to 2 months after birth, the second shot a month later, and the third shot 5 months after the second.

You will NOT get hepatitis B from the vaccine.

You will be protected for about 13 years. If it has been many years since you received your hepatitis B vaccination, or if you do not know when you were vaccinated, ask your doctor to check to see if you have antibodies against hepatitis B.