Hepatitis B

Did you know?

Half of all people who get hepatitis B can't tell they have the disease.

DSI Hepatitis B

About the vaccine

The hepatitis B vaccine is provided free to infants or children under the age of seven in combination with other childhood vaccines so that they can be protected against multiple diseases with one shot. 

Infants should receive three doses of DTaP-HB-IPV-Hib (105) at 2, 4 and 6 months of age.

The hepatitis B vaccine is given free  to children in grade 6 who have not had the vaccine before.  For more information about grade 6 immunizations in BC, read HealthLinkBC File #50F.

The Hepatitis B vaccine (25a) is free for those born in 1980 or later and those with medical, lifestyle or occupational risks. Those not eligible for the free vaccine can talk to their doctor or pharmacist about purchasing the vaccine. 

Vaccines are very safe. It is much safer to get the vaccine than to get Hepatitis B disease

Which adults should get vaccinated?

  • People whose sexual partners are infected with HBV
  • Those with multiple sex partners
  • Persons seeking evaluation or treatment for a sexually transmitted infection 
  • Men who have sex with men
  • People who share needles, syringes or other drug-injection equipment
  • People who have close household contact with someone infected with HBV
  • Health care and public safety workers at risk for exposure to blood or blood-contaminated body fluids
  • People with end-stage renal disease, including pre-dialysis, hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis and home dialysis patients
  • Residents and staff of facilities for developmentally disabled persons
  • Travelers to regions with moderate or high rates of HBV infection
  • People with chronic liver disease
  • People with HIV infection
  • Anyone who wishes to be protected from HBV infection

About the disease

  • Hepatitis B is a virus that attacks the liver
  • It can cause serious disease including permanent liver damage (cirrhosis)
  • Hepatitis B is also the main cause of liver cancer, which can be fatal
  • Half of all people who get hepatitis B can't tell they have the disease
  • Hepatitis B virus is spread from one infected person to another by contact with blood or body fluids. Mothers who are infected with hepatitis B virus can pass the virus to their newborn babies during delivery
  • Whether you have signs of illness or not, if you have the virus in your body you can pass it on to others
  • Signs of illness may be: tiredness, fever, loss of appetite, nausea, tenderness in the upper right side of the stomach area, dark colored urine, clay colored stools and a yellowing of skin and eyeballs (jaundice)

Photo courtesy of Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. More vaccine preventable disease images