The HepA vaccine is recommended for children 12 months and older, followed by a
second dose at least 18 months later.
HepA can be given as early as 6 months of age if a baby will travel to a place
where hepatitis A is common. The baby will still need routine vaccination after the
first birthday. It's also recommended for older kids who haven't already gotten it.
Why Is HepA Recommended?
The HepA vaccine not only protects the kids who get it. It also can help prevent
outbreaks. An outbreak is when a disease happens in greater numbers than expected
in a particular area.
Childcare centers are a common site of hepatitis A outbreaks. Some kids can be
infected and not have symptoms. But they can still spread the virus to others. Having
many young kids vaccinated against hepatitis A can stop it from spreading in a community.
Possible Risks of the HepA Vaccine
Side effects usually are mild, and can include a mild fever and soreness or redness
at the injection site. Allergic reactions to the vaccine are rare.
When to Delay or Avoid HAV Immunization
The HepA vaccine is not recommended if your child:
is currently sick, although simple colds
or other minor illnesses should not prevent immunization
Your child may have fever,
soreness, and some swelling and redness at the shot site. For pain and fever, check
with your doctor to see if you can give either acetaminophenoribuprofen,
and to find out the right dose.
When Should I Call the Doctor?
Call your doctor if:
You aren't sure if the vaccine should be postponed or avoided.