The hepatitis A virus (HAV) causes fever, nausea, vomiting, and jaundice, and can lead to community-wide epidemics. Childcare centers are a common site of outbreaks.
The vaccine is recommended for children 12-23 months old, followed by a second dose 6-18 months later.
In the past, the vaccine was recommended for older kids and adults who were at high risk for the disease (such as those who lived in or traveled to locations with high rates of HAV). But now it's also recommended for anyone who desires immunity to the disease.
Besides protecting the individual child, vaccination against HAV can help prevent epidemics from developing. Some infected kids do not have any symptoms, but can still spread the virus to others. Having many young kids vaccinated against HAV can limit the spread of the disease in a community.
Side effects are usually mild fever, and tenderness, swelling, and redness at the site of the injection. Allergic reactions to the vaccine are rare.
The vaccine is not recommended if your child:
Your child may have fever, soreness, and some swelling and redness in the area where the shot was given. Pain and fever may be treated with acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Check with your doctor to see if you can give either medication and to find out the appropriate dose.
Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date reviewed: October 2012
|National Immunization Program This website has information about immunizations. Call: (800) 232-2522|
|Immunization Action Coalition This organization is a source of childhood, adolescent, and adult immunization information as well as hepatitis B educational materials.|
|CDC Immunization: Pre-teens and Adolescents CDC site provides materials in English and Spanish for parents, teens, pre-teens, and health care providers about vaccines and the diseases they prevent.|
|American Liver Foundation This nonprofit organization promotes liver health and disease prevention.|
|The History of Vaccines The History of Vaccines is an informational, educational website created by The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, the oldest professional society in the United States.|
|Word! Vaccine A vaccine is another word for what most kids call a shot.|
|Your Child's Immunizations Immunizations protect your child from potentially fatal diseases. Find out what vaccines your child needs to grow up healthy.|
|Hepatitis Hepatitis, an infectious liver disease, is more contagious than HIV, and just like HIV, there is no cure. Find out how to protect yourself.|
|Hepatitis It's sneaky, it's silent, and it can permanently harm your liver. Read this article for more information on hepatitis.|
|Frequently Asked Questions About Immunizations Immunizations have protected millions of children from potentially deadly diseases. Learn about immunizations and find out exactly what they do - and what they don't.|
|What Can I Do to Ease My Child's Fear of Shots? Find out what the experts have to say.|
|Immunization Schedule Which vaccines does your child need to receive and when? Use this immunization schedule as a handy reference.|
|Hepatitis Hepatitis is most commonly caused by one of three viruses. In its early stages, hepatitis may cause flu-like symptoms.|
|How Can I Comfort My Baby During Shots? Find out what the experts have to say.|
|5 Tips for Surviving Shots If you're afraid of shots, you're not alone. Next time your doc asks you to roll up your sleeve, try these tips.|
|Immunizations Missing out on shots puts you at more serious risk than you might think. That one little "ouch" moment protects you from some major health problems.|
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