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Hepatitis B prevention

2-minute read

If you have hepatitis B it's important to protect others from infection.

Important ways to prevent the spread of hepatitis B include:

  • vaccination of all your close contacts (family members and sexual contacts)
  • practice safe sex (use condoms) until your sexual contacts are fully vaccinated and immune
  • do not donate blood, organs or body tissue
  • do not allow your blood to contact another person (cover cuts, clean blood spills with bleach)
  • inform healthcare workers (including dentists)
  • if your work involves potential for your blood or other body fluid to spread to other people, discuss your situation with your doctor

The hepatitis B vaccine is safe and effective in protecting against hepatitis B infection, providing protection in 95% of vaccinated people.

In Australia, hepatitis B vaccination is part of the standard immunisation schedule for all newborn babies and infants. It's also recommended for adults who are at high risk of exposure, people who are immunosuppressed or have other liver disease. People in these risk groups should be vaccinated against hepatitis B. Talk to your doctor about your level of risk and whether hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for you.

If you weren’t vaccinated against hepatitis B as a child, or if you’re not sure whether you are vaccinated, talk to your doctor about whether you need a catch-up vaccine.

Hepatitis B vaccine

Vaccination is your best protection against hepatitis B. This table explains how the vaccine is given, who should get it, and whether it is on the National Immunisation Program Schedule. Some diseases can be prevented with different vaccines, so talk to your doctor about which one is appropriate for you.

What age is it recommended?

Babies within 7 days of being born.

Children aged 2 months, 4 months and 6 months.

Others when their doctor suggests they are at risk of catching hepatitis B.

How many doses are required? 3 or 4, depending on the vaccine.
How is it administered? Injection
Is it free?

Free for babies under the National Immunisation Program.

Free for people under 20 years old, refugees and other humanitarian entrants of any age.

For everyone else, there is a cost for this vaccine.

Find out more on the Department of Health website and the National Immunisation Program Schedule, and ask your doctor if you are eligible for additional free vaccines based on your situation or location.

Common side effects The vaccine is very safe. Common side effects include soreness where the needle went in, low-grade fever and body aches.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: April 2019

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