Frequently asked questions
Frequently asked questions about hepatitis B vaccine, including questions specific to your baby and those at risk of hepatitis disease.
The hepatitis B vaccine helps protect you against hepatitis B which causes inflammation of the liver, liver cancer or death.
For babies, the first dose of hepatitis B is administered at birth or within seven days following birth. Hepatitis B vaccination at birth: Why your baby needs it (PDF 132KB) provides valuable information for parents-to-be on why this immunisation is recommended.
A further three doses are given in a combination vaccine at 6 weeks, 4 months and 6 months of age as part of the National Immunisation Program.
Other people may also be eligible to receive free immunisation. You may need a blood test before the first vaccine is given to check you have not already had exposure to the virus. For more information see High Risk Hepatitis B Immunisation Program, or talk to your doctor.
Hepatitis B is recommended if you:
Hepatitis B vaccine is given as an injection into the thigh if under 12 months of age, and into the top of the arm from 12 months of age.
Interim clinical information and advice is available in the Global shortage of hepatitis B vaccine - update for Immunisations Providers and Health Care Workers
Like any medications, the hepatitis B vaccine can have some minor and short lasting side effects.
Common side effects may include:
Very rarely, you may experience a severe allergic reaction.
Any unexpected event following immunisation should be reported to SA Health.
Many of the common side effects can be reduced by:
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.