Maintaining Good Health Even When You're Busy

Hepatitis B Immunizations: Faqs For Parents

by Caitlin Obara

Getting your child the proper immunizations is one of the most important steps to take as a parent. If you are concerned about specific vaccines, it is best to talk to your doctor about them. One immunization that many parents have questions about is the hepatitis B vaccine, which is sometimes referred to as HepB. Take a look at some of the questions most parents tend to have. 

What is hepatitis B?

Hepatitis B is considered to be one of the most severe forms of hepatitis, which is a serious infection of the liver that is caused by contact with the hepatitis B virus. HepB can be transmitted through contact with infected blood, but can also be caused by sexual contact. The virus can cause severe problems for the individual who contracts it, including: 

  • Jaundice
  • Severe abdominal pain and discomfort
  • Failure of liver function 

Liver cancer development is one of the most pressing concerns for people who contract the viruses. Even though the condition is treatable, it can cause lifelong problems with liver function due to scarring of the organ tissue. Hepatitis B is especially threatening if it is contracted by a small child because symptoms may not be so obvious and liver damage can still occur. 

Does every child need to get the hepatitis B immunization?

The CDC does recommend that every child get the hepatitis B vaccination at birth and then in routine doses between one and two months of age and between 16 and 18 months old. If your child did not get the immunization at birth, it can be given later in life and still be effective. 

Where can you get the hepatitis B immunization for your child?

Most pediatricians will talk to you about the different immunizations your child will need while they are still small before you ever have your infant. If your child was not given immunizations at birth, you can talk to a local medical care provider or immunization service about what shots should be given to your child and when.

Will your child experience any side effects after their immunization?

Side effects after the hepB vaccine are usually very minimal. Your child may have some redness or soreness at the injection site. In some cases, children will experience some mild symptoms like irritability, mild fever, or even a runny nose. If you see anything more severe, reach out to your pediatrician for advice.