Hepatitis A & B Vaccines: Everything You Need To Know

When people picture vital organs in the body, the first names that pop into the mind are often the heart, the brain, or even the skin. What about the liver, though? It’s truly one of the unsung heroes of our physiology. The liver is no slouch, it filters harmful toxins from our system and is integral to the digestion process. It can even regenerate itself partially if damaged, to a much higher degree than most other vital organs in your body.

That being said, your liver can’t do it all alone. It’s susceptible to a fair amount of ailments, both from internal damage and foreign pathogens. Among the latter, hepatitis is far and away one of the biggest threats to the liver. The hepatitis virus has distinct strains, each causing a different variant of the disease, similar in symptoms but different in transmission and epidemiology. Hepatitis outbreaks are a major issue in developing countries with inadequate health and sanitation facilities. Thankfully, vaccines to counter most strains of hepatitis have been commonplace for a few decades now. For a start, in this article, we’ll go through everything you need to know about the hepatitis A & B vaccinations. Without further ado, let’s dive right in!

Hepatitis Vaccines: Quick Info

To get you up to speed, here are a few fast facts before we get into the specifics of the individual vaccines.

– Currently, vaccines exist only for the A & B strains of hepatitis. There is no known vaccine for the C, D & E strains.

– In most countries, both vaccines are administered during infancy, and their effect lasts lifelong. No booster shots are required!

– As with other vaccines, it is advisable to get a professional opinion on vaccination in case you have specific medical conditions that could interfere or cause adverse side effects.

With that out of the way, let’s look at each vaccine under a finer lens.

Hepatitis A Vaccine

Hepatitis A is a liver disease that is characterized by inflammation in the liver, which gives rise to a whole array of other symptoms like nausea, fatigue, and joint pain. It is transmitted through contaminated food sources and water. However, with proper treatment, patients go on to make a full recovery from the disease.

When is the vaccine administered?

– The vaccine is typically administered around the time an infant completes its first year of life.

– The shots are administered at pediatrician clinics, where a record of all the baby’s vaccinations is maintained meticulously.

– However, if per chance, you have not received your hepatitis A vaccination as a child, or require it for upcoming travel/safety precautions, you can get the shot at your trusted clinics.

How many doses does it take?

– The hepatitis A vaccine consists of two shots, with a six-month interval between the shots.

– On the advice of your doctor, it is also recommended to get hepatitis A shots if you are at risk for exposure to the hepatitis A virus. Travel advisories across the world, for instance, keep updating their portals when it comes to hepatitis susceptibility.

Is the vaccine safe?

The hepatitis A vaccine is completely safe. Like most other traditional vaccines, it contains an inert, weakened form of the virus so that your body can prepare antibodies against it. The disease itself is not the most threatening form of hepatitis, to begin with. There is no record of the vaccine causing adverse complications in pregnant women. Always inform your doctor/physician of any allergies/conditions you may have prior to vaccination.

Hepatitis B Vaccine

In terms of severity, hepatitis B is a bigger threat than the A variant. If left unchecked, it exhibits a pattern of chronic recurrence, leading to complications like liver failure and cirrhosis. There are a lot of Liver cirrhosis and Liver damage treatments in Chennai but still, there is no known cure for hepatitis B, but there is a vaccine to prevent contracting the disease.

When is the vaccine administered?

– Hepatitis B shots are administered right from birth. It is imperative that you get these shots in case you haven’t.

– The hepatitis B shot is often given right at the hospital/clinic where the birth occurs.
– We at Chennai liver foundation one of the best liver Hospital in Chennai also provide hepatitis shots for patients

How many doses does it take?

– The hepatitis B vaccine requires three shots, and in some cases, a fourth booster shot.

– The first shot is administered at birth, with the second and third shot given at one month and six months of age, respectively.

– The fourth shot is required if you are at significant risk of exposure to hepatitis B.

Is the vaccine safe?

The hepatitis B vaccine is a traditional vaccine, much like its hepatitis A counterpart. There are no known complications that are suspected to arise from receiving the vaccine, seeing how it is safe to administer even to newborn babies. That being said, it is always advisable to keep your doctor in the loop about any conditions, allergies, and medical history you may have if you are getting the shots in the near future.

The Power of Awareness

Hepatitis is one of the most common ailments that mankind faces, even to this day. Vaccines against hepatitis are our best weapon to combat this menace. The responsibility falls on each of us, not just to ourselves but to society as a whole to keep this viral disease at bay. Please ensure that you and your near and dear ones are up-to-date with your hepatitis A & B shots. If not, please head to your nearest clinic today to protect yourself from this illness!

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