Vaccination is the best protection against hepatitis B and its complications.
Hepatitis B is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus. The vaccine is very effective in preventing the infection.
The Québec Immunization Program provides for the administration of the vaccine against hepatitis B to people with an increased risk of contracting this disease. The regular schedule includes one protection against hepatitis B using combination vaccines at the ages of 2, 4 and 18 months.
Travellers who go to regions where the risk of contracting hepatitis B is high can also receive this vaccination, but it is not free.
Duration of protection
In healthy people, protection will last a very long time, probably for 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. cold, gastro, headache.
Hepatitis B vaccine is safe. In most cases, it does not cause any reaction.
The nature and frequency of possible reactions to vaccine
Possible reactions to the vaccine
Often (less than 10% of people)
Pain, redness and swelling at the infection site
Headache, digestive problems, dizziness, fatigue
The hepatitis B vaccine has been used for over 20 years and millions of doses have been administered worldwide. No serious or unexpected problems are associated with this vaccine.
As for all immunization programs, the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux monitors the side effects of the 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 following vaccination
Wait 15 minutes before leaving premises where vaccine is received. If an allergic reaction occurs, the symptoms will appear a few minutes after the vaccination.
If you feel side effects, immediately inform the person giving the vaccine. That person will be able to treat you immediately.
Tips to follow at home
If you experience redness, pain or swelling at the injection site, apply a cold, damp compress on it.
Use medication for fever or discomfort if needed.
When to seek medical help
See a doctor if one of the following applies to you: