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hepatitis B pediatric vaccine

Brand: Engerix-B Pediatric, Recombivax HB, Recombivax HB Pediatric/Adolescent

What is the most important information I should know about this vaccine?

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Hepatitis B vaccine will not protect against infection with hepatitis A, C, and E, or other viruses that affect the liver. It may also not protect against hepatitis B if your child is already infected with the virus, even if he or she does not yet show symptoms.

Vaccination with hepatitis B pediatric vaccine is recommended for all children, especially children and adolescents who are at risk of getting hepatitis B. Risk factors include: being born to a mother who is a hepatitis carrier; being on dialysis or receiving blood transfusions; living in an institute for the mentally handicapped; traveling to high-risk areas; living with a person who has chronic hepatitis B infection; and being of Native Alaskan, Indochinese, Haitian, or Pacific Island descent.

The hepatitis B pediatric vaccine is given in a series of shots. The booster shots are sometimes given 1 month and 6 months after the first shot. If your child has a high risk of hepatitis B infection, he or she may be given a booster 2 months after the first shot and then 12 to 24 months later.

Your child's individual booster schedule may be different from these guidelines. Follow your doctor's instructions or the schedule recommended by your local health department.

Be sure your child receives all recommended doses of this vaccine. Your child may not be fully protected against disease if he or she does not receive the full series.

Your child can still receive a vaccine if he or she has a minor cold. In the case of a more severe illness with a fever or any type of infection, wait until the child gets better before receiving this vaccine.

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Your child should not receive a booster vaccine if he or she had a life-threatening allergic reaction after the first shot.

Keep track of any and all side effects your child has after receiving this vaccine. When the child receives a booster dose, you will need to tell the doctor if the previous shot caused any side effects.

Becoming infected with hepatitis B is much more dangerous to your child's health than receiving this vaccine. However, like any medicine, this vaccine can cause side effects but the risk of serious side effects is extremely low.

What is hepatitis B vaccine?

Hepatitis B is a serious disease caused by virus.

Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver that is spread through blood or bodily fluids, sexual contact or sharing IV drug needles with an infected person, or during childbirth when a baby is born to a mother who is infected. Hepatitis causes inflammation of the liver, vomiting, and jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes). Hepatitis can lead to liver cancer, cirrhosis, or death.

The hepatitis B vaccine is used to help prevent this disease.

This vaccine works by exposing your child to a small amount of the virus, which causes the body to develop immunity to the disease. This vaccine will not treat an active infection that has already developed in the body.

Vaccination with hepatitis B pediatric vaccine is recommended for all children, especially children and adolescents who are at risk of getting hepatitis B. Risk factors include: being born to a mother who is a hepatitis carrier; being on dialysis or receiving blood transfusions; living in an institute for the mentally handicapped; traveling to high-risk areas; living with a person who has chronic hepatitis B infection; and being of Native Alaskan, Indochinese, Haitian, or Pacific Island descent.

Like any vaccine, the hepatitis B vaccine may not provide protection from disease in every person.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before receiving this vaccine?

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Hepatitis B vaccine will not protect against infection with hepatitis A, C, and E, or other viruses that affect the liver. It may also not protect against hepatitis B if your child is already infected with the virus, even if he or she does not yet show symptoms.

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Your child should not receive this vaccine if he or she ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to any vaccine containing hepatitis B, or if the child is allergic to baker's yeast. Your child also should not receive this vaccine if he or she has received cancer chemotherapy or radiation treatment in the past 3 months.

If your child has any of these other conditions, the vaccine may need to be postponed or not given at all:

  • multiple sclerosis;
  • kidney disease (or if the child is on dialysis);
  • a bleeding or blood clotting disorder such as hemophilia or easy bruising;
  • a history of seizures;
  • a neurologic disorder or disease affecting the brain (or if this was a reaction to a previous vaccine);
  • an allergy to latex rubber;
  • a weak immune system caused by disease, bone marrow transplant, or by using certain medicines or receiving cancer treatments; or
  • if your child is taking a blood thinner such as warfarin (Coumadin).

Your child can still receive a vaccine if he or she has a minor cold. In the case of a more severe illness with a fever or any type of infection, wait until the child gets better before receiving this vaccine.

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FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether this vaccine will harm an unborn baby. Tell the doctor if your child is pregnant or becomes pregnant while receiving the series of hepatitis B vaccines.

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It is not known whether hepatitis B vaccine passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Tell the doctor if your child is breast-feeding a baby.

How is this vaccine given?

The vaccine is injected into a muscle. Your child will receive this injection in a doctor's office or other clinic setting.

The hepatitis B pediatric vaccine is given in a series of shots. The booster shots are sometimes given 1 month and 6 months after the first shot. If your child has a high risk of hepatitis B infection, he or she may be given a booster 2 months after the first shot and then 12 to 24 months later.

Your child's individual booster schedule may be different from these guidelines. Follow your doctor's instructions or the schedule recommended by your local health department.

Your doctor may recommend treating fever and pain with an aspirin-free pain reliever such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, and others) when the shot is given and for the next 24 hours. Follow the label directions or your doctor's instructions about how much of this medicine to give your child.

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It is especially important to prevent fever from occurring in a child who has a seizure disorder such as epilepsy.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Contact your doctor if you miss a booster dose or if you get behind schedule. The next dose should be given as soon as possible. There is no need to start over.

Be sure your child receives all recommended doses of this vaccine. Your child may not be fully protected against disease if he or she does not receive the full series.

What happens if I overdose?

An overdose of this vaccine is unlikely to occur.

What should I avoid before or after receiving this vaccine?

Follow your doctor's instructions about any restrictions on food, beverages, or activity.

What are the possible side effects of this vaccine?

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Your child should not receive a booster vaccine if he or she had a life-threatening allergic reaction after the first shot.

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Keep track of any and all side effects your child has after receiving this vaccine. When the child receives a booster dose, you will need to tell the doctor if the previous shot caused any side effects.

Becoming infected with hepatitis B is much more dangerous to your child's health than receiving this vaccine. However, like any medicine, this vaccine can cause side effects but the risk of serious side effects is extremely low.

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Get emergency medical help if your child has any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat.

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Call your doctor at once if your child has any of these serious side effects:

  • fever, sore throat, and headache with a severe blistering, peeling, and red skin rash;
  • fussiness, irritability, crying for an hour or longer;
  • fast or pounding heartbeats; or
  • easy bruising or bleeding.

Less serious side effects include:

  • redness, pain, swelling, or a lump where the shot was given;
  • headache, dizziness;
  • low fever;
  • joint pain, body aches;
  • tired feeling; or
  • nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, constipation, diarrhea.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report vaccine side effects to the US Department of Health and Human Services at 1-800-822-7967.

What other drugs will affect hepatitis B vaccine?

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Before receiving this vaccine, tell the doctor about all other vaccines your child has recently received.

Also tell the doctor if your child has received drugs or treatments in the past 2 weeks that can weaken the immune system, including:

  • an oral, nasal, inhaled, or injectable steroid medicine;
  • medications to treat psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, or other autoimmune disorders, such as azathioprine (Imuran), efalizumab (Raptiva), etanercept (Enbrel), leflunomide (Arava), and others; or
  • medicines to treat or prevent organ transplant rejection, such as basiliximab (Simulect), cyclosporine (Sandimmune, Neoral, Gengraf), muromonab-CD3 (Orthoclone), mycophenolate mofetil (CellCept), sirolimus (Rapamune), or tacrolimus (Prograf).

If your child is using any of these medications, he or she may not be able to receive the vaccine, or may need to wait until the other treatments are finished.

There may be other drugs that can affect this vaccine. Tell your doctor about all medications your child receives. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more information about this vaccine. Additional information is available from your local health department or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

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