Hepatitis A Information

Hepatitis A is a liver disease that can cause stomach pain, diarrhea, loss of appetite, nausea, dark urine, yellow eyes or skin, and fever. Symptoms are more common in adults than they are in children. The disease is caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV), which can be passed from person to person through contaminated food or water.

Although acute hepatitis A usually resolves itself within six months, the disease accounts for approximately 100 deaths per year in the United States.

Hepatitis A Vaccine Information

Hepatitis A vaccine is available as an individual vaccine or in combination with Hepatitis B vaccine.

Hepatitis A vaccine is given as an injection into the arm or thigh muscle, which is known as an intramuscular (IM) injection.

Who Should Receive the Hepatitis A Vaccine?

  • All children between 12 months and 23 months old
  • People who live in a community with high rates of hepatitis
  • People traveling to countries where hepatitis A is common
  • Men who have sex with men
  • People who inject illegal drugs
  • People with chronic liver disease
  • People who receive blood products to help their blood clot
  • People who work with HAV-infected animals or work with HAV in research settings

Hepatitis A Vaccination Schedule

  • Two doses separated by at least 6 months

Combination Hepatitis A and B Vaccine

  • Three doses: First dose, followed by a second dose 1 month after the first dose, followed by a third dose 6 months after the first dose

Hepatitis A vaccine may be given at the same time as other vaccines.

For more information on Hepatitis B, visit our web page.

Side Effects

Mild-to-Moderate Problems

  • Soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot was given
  • Headache, tiredness, and loss of appetite

Severe Problems (Rare)

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Hives
  • Pale skin
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Dizziness

Over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help ease pain and reduce fever.

It is extremely rare for these vaccines to cause serious harm or death. If the person getting the vaccine has a serious reaction, call the doctor or seek immediate medical attention.

Who Should Not Receive the Hepatitis A Vaccine?

  • Those with moderate or severe illness (for example, a severe cold, flu or infection of the sinuses or lungs) should not receive the vaccine until symptoms of the illness improve.
  • Women who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant should ask their doctor if they should receive the vaccine.
  • Those who previously had a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction to the vaccine or any ingredient in the vaccine should not be vaccinated.

Additional Information

Tell your doctor or a healthcare provider if the person getting the varicella (chickenpox) vaccine has any severe allergies.

Call the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at 800-232-4636 or visit the CDC website, at  cdc.gov/vaccines, for more vaccine information.

This publication should be used for general educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Be sure to contact your doctor, pharmacist, or other healthcare provider for more information about human papillomavirus. Although it is intended to be accurate, neither Walgreen Co., its subsidiaries or affiliates, nor any other party assumes liability for loss or damage due to reliance on this publication.


Atkinson W, Hamborsky J, McIntyre L, Wolfe S, eds. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases. 10th ed. Washington, DC: Public Health Foundation, 2007.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Vaccine Information Statement: hepatitis A vaccine. March 21, 2006.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/vis/default.htm. Accessed April 2008.

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