On September 1, 2020, changes were made to the Québec Immunization Program. These changes are based on a recommendation made by the Comité sur l’immunisation du Québec and concern vaccines administered at school. To find out more, go to the Changes made to the school-based vaccination program section.
Hepatitis A and hepatitis B are liver infections caused by 2 different viruses: the hepatitis A virus and the hepatitis B virus. The vaccine is very effective in preventing both infections.
The vaccine is indicated for anyone who wants to reduce their risk of getting hepatitis A and hepatitis B.
Since June 1, 2019, Québec’s immunization schedule has provided for one dose of the hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccine at 18 months of age. The vaccine has also been offered in school since 2013. The school-based immunization program will continue until children born before June 1, 2019 have reached the age of Grade 4 of primary school.
Number of doses required
Depending on the person’s age, 2 or 3 doses of the vaccine are required to ensure the best possible protection.
For people under age 20, 1 dose of hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccine, followed by 1 dose of hepatitis B vaccine, are enough to ensure effective protection.
People aged 20 or older will need 3 doses of the combined hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccine.
Duration of protection
In healthy people who have received all the recommended doses, protection will last at least 25 to 35 years and there is no indication that a booster dose is necessary later in life.
Symptoms after vaccination
Some symptoms may be caused by the vaccine, e.g., redness at the injection site. Other problems may occur by chance and are not related to the vaccine, e.g., a cold, a gastroenteritis or a headache.
The hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccine is safe. In most cases, it does not cause any reaction.
Nature and frequency of possible reactions to the vaccine
Possible reactions to the vaccine
Very often (less than 50% of people)
Pain, redness, swelling at the infection site
Often (less than 10% of people)
Headache, digestive problems, dizziness, fatigue
The hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccine has been used for over 20 years and millions of doses have been administered worldwide. According to current scientific data, no serious or unexpected problems are associated with this vaccine. No link has been found between this vaccine and certain serious diseases or deaths.
As for all immunization programs, the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux monitors the side effects of the hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccine under the Programme de surveillance passive des effets secondaires possiblement reliés à l’immunisation (ESPRI) (Passive surveillance program used to monitor possible vaccine-related side effects).
What to do after vaccination
Tips to follow immediately after vaccination
Wait 15 minutes before leaving the place where you were given the vaccine. If an allergic reaction occurs, the symptoms will appear a few minutes after vaccination.
If you experience side effects, tell the person who gave you the vaccine immediately. They will be able to treat you right away.
Tips to follow at home
If you experience redness, pain or swelling at the injection site, apply a cold, damp compress to the site.
Use medication for fever or discomfort if needed.
When to consult
See a doctor if any of the following applies to you: