Hepatitis A and B VaccineNew York, NY
The hepatitis A and B vaccine is a combination vaccine that protects people from two harmful viruses that cause liver inflammation. Both forms of hepatitis can have serious consequences for those who are unvaccinated and become infected. Children and adults at high risk should be vaccinated.
Dr. Marina Gafanovich offers the hepatitis A and B vaccines at her Upper East Side Manhattan office. Make sure your health is fully protected. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, call 212-548-3263.
What is Hepatitis A and B
Hepatitis means “inflammation of the liver” and can result from a number of causes. Among these causes are a group of viruses, hepatitis A and B being two of the most common. Hepatitis A and B have some symptoms in common but spread in different ways.
Hepatitis B is transmitted through infected people's blood or bodily fluids. Most people contract the type B virus from sexual contact and sharing needles. It can also be transmitted from a mother to her developing fetus. Type A is spread largely by consuming contaminated food and water and is considered the more contagious of the two. Hepatitis A is more prevalent slabin areas with poor sanitation. However, either virus can damage the liver and make it harder for it to filter toxins, leading to serious complications.
Differences and Similarities
Hepatitis A is acute; however, hepatitis B may become chronic and is more likely to have serious health consequences. Though most people recover from hepatitis A without lasting damage, in rare cases, it can cause long-term health problems and even death, especially in those more vulnerable, such as the elderly or those with chronic liver disease.
People with Hepatitis A or B do not always show symptoms. However, even a person without symptoms can spread the virus. Symptoms of hepatitis include loss of appetite, jaundice or yellowing of the skin and eyes, dark urine, light-colored stool, extreme fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.
The Importance of Being Vaccinated
Both viruses can be spread via asymptomatic carriers and make one seriously ill. According to the Hepatitis B Foundation, chronic hepatitis is the leading cause of liver cancer and can lead to liver cirrhosis. Sometimes permanent damage has already occurred by the time symptoms manifest.
Getting the hepatitis A and B vaccine is important in protecting personal and public health. The combined vaccine is effective and generally well tolerated. The vaccine works by triggering the body to develop immunity to both diseases. The more people with immunity, the less prevalent the viruses are in a population.
Who should get vaccinated
Most children in the United States are vaccinated for hepatitis A and B as part of routine vaccinations. In addition, the vaccine is recommended for persons 18 and over who are at higher risk because of their jobs or lifestyles. Those traveling to certain parts of the world such as the Caribbean, Africa, The Middle East, Central, and South America, and certain parts of Asia should have the vaccine before traveling.
In addition to international travelers, health care workers should be vaccinated along with laboratory workers handling pathogens. The vaccine is also recommended for the following:
- Anyone moving to a high-risk part of the world
- Caretakers of those who are infected
- Corrections workers
- First responders
- Intravenous drug users
- Military personnel
- Those engaged in high-risk sexual activities
- Those who work with children
- People with chronic liver disease
- People with hemophilia
Women who plan to become pregnant should also consider getting the vaccine due to the high risk the virus poses to the fetus.
How the Process Works
Patients who are unsure of their vaccination status or whether they even need a vaccination are encouraged to make an appointment. Our team can review the patient's health history and discuss the patient's lifestyle to see if they are at risk. We can also test to see if the patient already has immunity. Those who are ill should wait until they recover before getting the vaccine. Also, those who are allergic to the vaccine or any of its components should not receive the vaccine.
Schedule a Visit Today
Our team offers the hepatitis A and B vaccines in our Upper East Side Manhattan office. Protect yourself and others by making sure you are vaccinated. Call our office at 212-548-3263 to learn more or schedule an appointment.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Hepatitis A and B Vaccine
Q. How many doses of the vaccine will I need?
A. The hepatitis vaccines can be given separately or combined. How you will be vaccinated will depend on age, immunity status, and other factors. A full series of vaccines usually requires 2-3 shots given months apart.
Q. Is the hepatitis A and B vaccine safe?
A. Though there is always some risk with any medical procedure or vaccine, the risk of serious complications from the hepatitis A and B vaccine is extremely small. There is a rare chance that someone could have a severe reaction and need emergency care. The vaccine is safe when administered by a trained professional.
Q. Are there any side effects of the vaccine?
A. Side effects of the vaccine are also rare and, if they happen, tend to only last one or two days. Some experience soreness at the injection site. Some of the more common side effects reported include mild fever, weakness, and fatigue.
Q. What are some other steps I can take to prevent catching and spreading hepatitis A and B?
A. Besides getting the vaccine, washing hands frequently with warm soap and water is crucial. It is also important to avoid drug use, especially the intravenous kind. Practice safe sex and take precautions if you plan on getting any tattoos or body piercings. When you travel, drink and brush your teeth with bottled water.
Q. Is the vaccine covered by my insurance?
A. That depends on your insurance. Since this is a frequently recommended vaccine and preventative care, many insurance plans cover it. We suggest you contact your insurance provider to ensure coverage under your plan.
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