Be Aware of Side Effects of Hepatitis A Vaccine

Hepatitis A is a virus that is spread through food or water infected with the virus as well as from person to person contact. It is a serious disease that affects the liver and can be fatal. What makes this disease so deadly is an infected person can have no symptoms but still spread the virus. The Hepatitis A vaccination can be administered to help prevent infection of this virus by assisting the body in producing its own antibodies against the Hepatitis A virus. But as with any vaccination, you should know some of the Hepatitis A vaccine side effects.

Who Should Take Hepatitis A Vaccine?

It is recommended that all adults should receive the Hepatitis A vaccination if:

  • You are traveling to or working in a country where Hepatitis A is a serious threat. Countries like Africa, Eastern Europe, South America, Central America and many Asian countries have many cases of Hepatitis A infection among travelers from international countries.
  • Those who may come in contact with an individual who is from a country where Hepatitis A is common.
  • Any male who prefers to have sex with other males.
  • Individuals who regularly or occasionally use street drugs.
  • Those with chronic liver disease.
  • Individuals who work with primates that may be infected with the Hepatitis A virus.
  • Individuals who work in a lab where research is done where the Hepatitis A virus is kept.
  • Those who work with food.

Additional, all children should receive the Hepatitis A vaccination between the ages of 12 and 23 months, as well as any child that travels to a country where Hepatitis A is common.

What Are the Possible Hepatitis A Vaccine Side Effects?

While getting the Hepatitis A vaccination will not infect you with the virus, there are some side effects that range from mild to fatal. In rare cases, individuals can have an allergic reaction to the vaccine which can be fatal. This will often occur minute or hours after receiving the vaccination.

Some common side effects from the vaccination include:

  • Fever
  • Changes in behavior
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Hoarseness
  • Hives
  • Loss of color
  • Feeling weak
  • Increase heartbeat
  • Dizziness

Some side effects can last for a day or two after the vaccination but are minor side effects, which include:

  • Pain at the injection site
  • Fatigue
  • Headache

If you experience any severe Hepatitis A vaccine side effects, you should call your doctor immediately and inform them when you had the vaccination. You will also want to describe the side effects you are having and ensure that a report is made by a professional healthcare provider that document your reactions.

What Are the Possible Interactions with Hepatitis A Vaccine?

Aside from being aware of the most common side effects from receiving the Hepatitis A vaccine, you should also be aware of the interactions the vaccination can have. Before receiving the vaccination, your doctor should inform you of any diet or activity restrictions. Be sure to follow these instructions given by your doctor.

You should inform your doctor of any other vaccinations you or your child has received recently prior to getting the Hepatitis A vaccination.

Your doctor should also be informed of any medication you or your child have taken in the previous two weeks that could weaken or compromise the immune system which can result in more serious Hepatitis A vaccine side effects. Some of the medication or drug treatments can include:

  • Steroid medicines whether oral, inhaled, nasal or injectable
  • Psoriasis medicines
  • Medicines taken to treat rheumatoid arthritis
  • Medication such as Imuran, Enbrel or Arava which are taken to treat autoimmune disorders
  • Medications used to treat or prevent rejection from an organ transplant which can include Simulect, Sandimmune, Gengraf, Neoral, Orthoclone, CellCept, Rapamune, and Prograf

Individuals who are taking or recently received any of the medications as a treatment option may not be able to receive the Hepatitis A vaccination or will need to wait until treatment with these medications is completed.

There are additional medications that can have a negative interaction with the Hepatitis A vaccination, including over the counter medication, herbal products, and certain vitamins. Always tell your doctor any medication you or your child have taken, and avoid starting any new medications before talking to your doctor before and after receiving the Hepatitis A vaccination.