Two types of Hepatitis A vaccines are currently available worldwide:
- Formaldehyde inactivated Hep A vaccines (mostly used)
- Live attenuated vaccines (not widely used due to possibility of severe allergy to components included in the live attenuated vaccines)
Live vaccines should not be used in pregnancy or in severely immunocompromised patients. There is no information available on co-administration of live attenuated hepatitis A vaccines with other routinely used vaccines.
Both the vaccines contain antigens derived from attenuated HAV strains grown in cell culture.Hepatitis A vaccine is optional but recommended in India.
Combination vaccines, including Hepatitis A and B or Hepatitis A and Typhoid are used for adult travelers. Inactivated Hep A vaccine can be used for a person more than or at least 12 months of age. It is safe to give inactivated Hepatitis A vaccine simultaneously with DTP, Polio, Hib, MMR, Typhoid and Hepatitis B.
Both inactivated and live attenuated hepatitis A vaccines generate long-lasting, possibly lifelong, protection against hepatitis A in children as well as in adults.
How is Hepatitis A vaccine administered?
Hep A is injected intramuscularly into the deltoid muscle.
Recommended dosage of inactivated HepA Vaccine:
- Two doses should be given with the minimum interval of at least 6 months between the doses but the gap is flexible till 36 months
- First dose can be given at 12 months to a child followed by a booster dose at 18 months or first dose at 16 months followed by second dose at 22 months
Inactivated hepatitis A vaccines are safe to use in patients with mild to moderate chronic liver disease, in liver and renal transplantation recipients and in dialysis patients. These vaccines are considered safer than live attenuated ones to be used in pregnancy since inactivated virus should not pose any danger to the developing fetus.
Who should get the vaccine?
- All children who are 12-23 months of age
- People who travel to areas where theprevalence of hepatitis A is high. Theseareas include Africa, Asia, the Mediterraneanbasin, the Middle East, Central and South America
- Natives in countries where Hepatitis A is prevalent
- Have sex with someone who has Hepatitis A
- Homosexual males
- Drug addicts
- Hemophiliacs (having a blood clotting disorder)
- Living with someone having Hepatitis A
- People with chronic liver disease
- People working with hepatitis A virus in a laboratory
Marketed Hepatitis A Products
Here is the list of WHO pre-qualified vaccine products available in market. Click on name of the product to know more.