What is Hepatitis A?
- A virus that affects the liver
- Causes fever, an upset stomach, tiredness, diarrhea and yellowing of the skin and eyes (called jaundice)
- Spread by not washing your hands properly after going to the bathroom or eating food contaminated with sewage. It can also be spread through sexual contact
Who should get Hepatitis A vaccine?
- Travel to places with poor sanitation and high rates of Hepatitis A (Example: Central or South America, Mexico, Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, etc.). Speak with your doctor or Travel Clinic for more information
- Use street drugs
- Perform sexual acts involving anal contact
- Have liver disease (including Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C carriers)
- Are household and/or sexual contacts of acute cases of Hepatitis A
- Live in places with poor sanitation
The Hepatitis A vaccine requires two needles which provide long-term protection.
- 1st dose – Now
- 2nd dose – 6 months to 12 months after the first dose
Who should not get Hepatitis A vaccine?
- People who have had a bad reaction to a vaccine or an ingredient in the vaccine
- People who have had a bad reaction to an antibiotic called Neomycin
- If you are pregnant, talk to your doctor or Public Health Nurse
- If you are taking medications or have any diseases that lower the immune system or increase bleeding, talk to your doctor or Public Health Nurse
Is Hepatitis A vaccine safe?
Yes. You may have redness, swelling and warmth where the needle went in
Serious reactions to the vaccine are rare (e.g. hives, swelling of the mouth or throat or trouble breathing)
When should I call my doctor?
Call your doctor if you or your child has any of these problems within 3 days of getting the needle:
- Swelling of your face or mouth
- Trouble breathing
- Very pale colour and tiredness
- Child: crying for 3 hours or more
- High fever (over 39° C or 102.2° F)
- Convulsions (muscle spasms) or seizures
- Other serious problems
If you have any questions speak with your health care provider
- Make sure to update your immunization record
- Notify the Health Unit each time your child receives a vaccine by phone (519-753-4937 ext. 451) or online
Sources: Public Health Agency of Canada (Canadian Immunization Guide), Publicly Funded Schedules for Ontario (March 2015)
This information is for general knowledge only and does not replace professional medical advice. Please note there is a cost for immunizations that are not included in Ontario’s Publicly Funded Immunization Schedule. For more information contact us at 519-753-4937 ext. 451 or firstname.lastname@example.org