Vaccination, hepatitis B
Hepatitis B (hep B) vaccine gives prolonged protection, but 3 shots over a half year are usually required. All infants in the U.S. receive hep B vaccine. Two vaccines (Engerix-B, and Recombivax-HB) are available in the US. The first dose of hep B vaccine is frequently given while the newborn is in the hospital or at the first doctor visit following birth. The second dose is given about 30 days after the initial dose. A booster dose is performed approximately six months later. Babies born to mothers testing positive for hep B receive, in addition, HBIG (hep B immune globulin) for prompt protection. Older children (11-12 years) are advised to receive a hep B booster. Adults in high-risk situations are also advised to get a hep A booster. Those in high-risk situations include healthcare workers, dentists, intimate and household contacts of patients with chronic hep B infection, male homosexuals, individuals with multiple sexual partners, dialysis patients, IV drug users, and recipients of repeated transfusions. Healthcare workers accidentally exposed to materials infected with hep B (such as needle sticks), and individuals with known sexual contact with hep B patients are available in the U.S. Both vaccines (Engerix-B, and Recombivax-HB) are highly effective and provide protection even after only one dose. However, as indicated, two doses are recommended for adults and 3 doses for children (under 18 years of age) to provide prolonged protection.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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