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Hepatitis A Vaccine

What is the hepatitis A vaccine?

Hepatitis A (HAV) vaccine protects against liver disease caused by infection with the hepatitis A virus. People usually get hepatitis A from traveling to or living in an area where there is a high rate of hepatitis A. You or your child may get it from eating or drinking contaminated food or water or from contact with the bowel movements of an infected person. This disease can cause adults and children to miss a lot of work and school and it can damage the liver.

Who should get the HAV vaccine?

The HAV vaccine is recommended for all children over 1 year of age. The vaccine is given as 2 shots with at least 6 months between each shot. The vaccine should protect your child for many years, perhaps for life.

If you are traveling or living outside the US, the HAV vaccine is very important. It’s best to be completely vaccinated against hepatitis A before you or your child travel. This means getting the first shot at least 7 months before traveling. If you don't have that much time before you leave, it’s still important for you and your child to get at least 1 shot 2 weeks or more before your trip.

Talk to your child’s healthcare provider or local public health department for more information.

Is the HAV vaccine required for my child to get into school?

The HAV vaccine is not required for entry into school in most states. However, some states and counties now require proof of HAV immunization for school or preschool entry. Ask your child’s healthcare provider if your area requires the HAV vaccine.

Developed by RelayHealth.
Pediatric Advisor 2013.2 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2012-06-29
Last reviewed: 2012-06-11
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
© 2013 RelayHealth and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
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