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Hepatitis A vaccine

The hepatitis A vaccine helps protect you against hepatitis A. Hepatitis A causes inflammation of the liver. People with hepatitis A can have a fever, tiredness, feel unwell, yellowing of the skin and whites of their eyes and dark urine.

There is also a combination vaccine that provides protection for both hepatitis A and hepatitis B (Twinrix®).

Vaccine recommendations

Hepatitis A vaccine is provided free to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children only as part of the National Immunisation Program at 12 and 18 months of age.

The hepatitis A vaccine is also recommended if you are:

  • working in an occupation that is at risk of catching hepatitis A
  • travelling overseas to areas where hepatitis A is endemic
  • an expatriate living in moderate to highly endemic areas
  • a sex industry worker
  • a man having sex with other men
  • a person who injects drugs
  • developmentally disabled
  • chronically infected with either hepatitis B or hepatitis C
  • a person with chronic liver disease
  • are a liver transplant or solid organ transplant recipient with chronic liver disease

How is the vaccine given

Hepatitis A vaccine is given as an injection into the top of the arm.

Possible side effects

Like any medications, the hepatitis A vaccine can have some minor and short lasting side effects.

The most common side effects include:

  • pain, redness and swelling where you were immunised
  • headaches
  • feeling unwell
  • low grade fever of 37 to 38 degrees Celcius
  • tiredness.

Very rarely, you may experience a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine.

If you are concerned or worried, seek further advice from your doctor, immunisation provider, SA Health’s Immunisation Section or healthdirect Australia.

Any unexpected event following immunisation should be reported to the Immunisation Section to ensure effective vaccine safety.

Reducing the side effects

Many of the common side effects can be reduced by:

  • drinking extra fluids
  • taking paracetamol as per the instructions on the packet/bottle
  • not overdressing if you are already hot.

Where to get immunised

To receive the vaccine contact your doctor, local council, community health centre or Aboriginal health centre to arrange an appointment. 

For further information on immunisation providers, see the Immunisation services page.

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