Description

Vaccination is the best protection against hepatitis A and hepatitis B and their complications.

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 95 to 100% effective in preventing both infections.

The vaccine is indicated for anyone who wants to reduce their risk of getting hepatitis A and hepatitis B. Depending on the person’s age, 2 or 3 doses of the vaccine are required over a 6-month period 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 hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccine.

One dose of the hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccine followed by one dose of the hepatitis B vaccine are offered free of charge in Grade 4 of primary school.

In healthy people, 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
FrequencyPossible Reactions to the Vaccine

Very often
(less than 50% of people)

  • Pain, redness, swelling at the infection site

Often
(less than 10% of people)

  • Fever
  • 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:

  • You experience serious or unusual symptoms.
  • Your symptoms get worse instead of better.
  • Your symptoms last over 48 hours.