On the market, there are several vaccines to protect against Hepatitis A and B. Currently, only one product protects against Hep A and B, Twinrix(r), but it is only for adults. Infants and children must receive separate shots to gain immunity to the deadly viruses.
Hepatitis A is an infection caused by the hepatitis A virus. The virus lasts approximately two months during which fever, weakness, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and jaundice are common.
Hepatitis A affects juveniles and adults more regularly than young children. The virus is spread through contaminated soil and occasionally blood. Usually, the virus is received through food grown in contaminated soil.
Hepatitis B is similar to Hep A, only this virus is passed through blood or body fluids. The Hep B virus attacks the liver causing liver disease and liver cancer.
Symptoms include appetite loss, jaundice, nausea, joint pain, and skin rashes. The disease is commonly passed from mother to child.
The Hepatitis A vaccine is used mainly in high-risk groups including gay men, Native Americans, Eskimos, and drug users. It is becoming more common to vaccinate infants just as a precaution. The vaccine is given in two doses, six months apart.
The Hepatitis B vaccine is routinely given in three doses. Infants receive the vaccination at birth followed by boosters at four and six to fifteen months.
Infants, drug users, gay men, Native Americans, Mexican Americans, Eskimos, lab workers, those with multiple sex partners, teachers, and health care professionals should all receive three doses of the vaccine at zero, one, and six month schedules.
The same spacing applies for adults who choose the Hep A & B combination vaccine.
All vaccinations are proven to be 97% effective. Immunity takes four weeks to develop and then lasts twenty years. There are no known side effects beyond tenderness at the injection site, and a mild headache.