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Hepatitis A Vaccine
What is hepatitis A?
• Hepatitis A is a serious liver disease caused by the
hepatitis A virus.
• It is usually spread by close personal contact and by
eating or drinking food or water containing HAV.
• Symptoms can include loss of appetite, a mild 'flu-like'
illness, severe abdominal pain and diarrhea, nausea,
tiredness, fever and jaundice.
• About 25% of people with hepatitis A require
• 1 to 3 out of 1000 infected people with hepatitis A will die.
• A person with hepatitis A can easily pass the disease to
others within the same household.
What does Hepatitis A vaccine contain?
• Hepatitis A antigen.
• Aluminum hydroxide, 2-phenoxyethanol, formaldehyde,
Medium 199 and neomycin. It is propagated in MRC-5
human diploid cells.
• Does not contain latex.
• Formalin, aluminum hydroxide, neomycin,
2-phenoxyethanol, polysorbate 20, bovine serum and
amino acids. It is propagated in MRC-5 human diploid
• The plunger of the prefilled syringe contains latex.
• Amorphous aluminum hydroxyphosphate sulfate, sodium
borate bovine albumin, formaldehyde and a trace of
neomycin. It is propagated in MRC-5 human diploid cells.
• Contains latex.
How effective is the vaccine?
• Greater than 90% are protected from disease 14 days
after vaccination. 100% protected after 1 month.
• The vaccine will provide adequate protection even if given
just prior to departure.
How long does the protection last?
• At least 20 years, but possibly for life after the second
Who should receive the vaccine?
• Residents (1-15 years) of some rural or remote Canadian
communities which lack adequate sanitation where a
routine hepatitis A vaccination program has been
• All travellers (1 year of age or older) to developing
countries (client must purchase).
• People for whom hepatitis A is an occupational hazard
such as sanitation and lab workers.
• Residents in certain institutions, such as correctional
facilities and facilities for developmentally challenged
• Men who have sex with men.
• Injection drug users (street drugs), their sexual partners
and household contacts.
• People who have hepatitis C.
• People with bleeding disorders.
• Transplant recipients - bone marrow, solid organs, stem
• People with HIV.
• Household or close contacts of someone diagnosed with
hepatitis A infection.
• Chronic liver disease including cirrhosis.
Who should not receive the vaccine?
• Infants under one year of age.
• Anyone who has had a life-threatening allergic reaction to
any of the vaccine components.
• Pregnant women, unless recommended by a physician.
• Use with caution in breastfeeding women.
• People with moderate to severe illness may have to delay
How is the vaccine given?
• By injection into a muscle (the deltoid muscle is the
preferred site for injection).
When should the vaccine be
• The initial dose is followed by a booster 6-18 months
• This vaccine can be given up to the day of departure for
• May be safely given with other vaccines.
What might be felt after receiving the vaccine?
Very Common (less than 10%)
• Headache, soreness/swelling at injection site, tiredness,
Common (between 1 and 10%)
• Redness/swelling near the injection site, headache,
achiness, fatigue, fever, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, rash.
Uncommon ( between 0.1%
• Dizziness, upper respiratory infection.
Rare (between 0.1% and 0.01%)
• Itching, numbness/tingling, severe allergic reaction, hives,
Call one of the numbers below if you have severe or unusual reaction.
For more information contact Public Health Services:
International Travel Centre (306) 655-4780.
North Health Centre (306) 655-4700
Our Neighbourhood Health Centre (306) 655-4950
South East Health Centre (306) 655-4730
West Winds Primary Health Centre (306) 655-4275
© 2007, Saskatoon Health Region. Reproduced only by permission.
(last updated April 14, 2010)