Hepatitis B Vaccination
Hepatitis B is a contagious, viral disease that is spread via body fluids. Hepatitis B can be a chronic disease, though most adults will fully recover.
Most people do not initially have symptoms when infected with Hepatitis B. Within 1-6 months the most common symptoms are fever, abdominal pain, dark urine, jaundice and loss of appetite. It becomes chronic Hepatitis B if the acute infection remains longer than 6 months.
Who is at risk of Hepatitis B?
As Hepatitis B is transmitted through bodily fluids, people who are most at risk of Hepatitis B includes but is not limited to: children of Hep B positive mothers, sexually active individuals, illicit drug users, health care workers, and emergency/first response workers. Household and/or close contacts of confirmed cases are also at risk.
How is Hepatitis B diagnosed and treated?
Hepatitis B is diagnosed through a simple blood test. Once Hepatitis B has been confirmed, liver function tests can determine if there has been liver damage, and the extent if so.
How can I protect myself from Hepatitis B?
The Hepatitis B vaccine is available as a monovalent vaccine or in combination with Hepatitis A. The Hepatitis B vaccine requires multiple doses to achieve full efficacy, which can be between 2-4 doses depending on vaccine, age, and lifestyle requirements. Ask your Pharmacist or doctor for advice specific to yourself.
Other than vaccination, preventing Hepatitis B includes using sexual protection, wearing gloves when dealing with blood/body fluids and avoiding illicit drugs.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Women who are planning pregnancy should review their immunisation status and receive missed vaccines. If immunisation history is unknown, serological tests can determine whether the Hepatitis B vaccine is required. If already pregnant the Hepatitis B vaccine is not routinely recommended. Susceptible pregnant women can receive Hepatitis B vaccine if it would otherwise be recommended such as post exposure to the disease. Breastfeeding is not a contraindication for receiving the Hepatitis B vaccine.
Who can get vaccinated at National Pharmacies?
Qualified Pharmacists at National Pharmacies can administer the Hepatitis B vaccine according to state code:
- South Australia – people 10 years of age and older.
- New South Wales – people 5 years of age and older.
Hepatitis B Vaccination Pricing: Members from $40.65 per dose, Retail Price from $48.50 per dose.