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Hepatitis B from £40 per dose

Hepatitis B is a type of hepatitis, a viral infection which can cause damage to the liver. Unlike hepatitis A, the hepatitis B virus is not usually transmitted via contaminated water but rather from person to person.

About the vaccine

  • When to get vaccinated: In order to complete the full course in time, you need to get the first dose at least one month before travel.
  • Course: The course consists of three doses. The second injection is given four weeks after the first and the third injection needs to follow five months later.
  • Accelerated course: If travelling at short notice, you may be able to get an accelerated course. You will receive the second injection after seven days, followed by the third injection at least 14 days after the second.
  • Boosters: Once you have completed the course, you usually won’t need another booster for five years. Boosters are sometimes recommended after exposure to the disease.
  • How it is given: Injection in the upper arm.
  • Side effects: Possible side effects include soreness at the injection site and tiredness.
  • Children: The hepatitis B vaccine can be given from birth.
  • Additional precautions: If travelling to a country where medical resources are limited, carry sterile needles with you. Use a condom every time you have sex to avoid catching hepatitis B during sex.
  • Risk if you contract hepatitis B: Hepatitis B can cause a range of flu like symptoms as well as jaundice. It can become chronic and lead to liver damage and failure.

Prices

Per Dose £40
Doses per course 3
Price per course £120

Immunisation requires three individual doses, administered by injection. The second injection is given 4 weeks after the first and the third injection needs to follow 5 months later. This is the recommended schedule for those in need of immunisation for occupational health.

For those travelling at short notice an accelerated course can be provided. The second injection can be given after 7 days followed by the third injection at least 14 days after the second.

Healthcare workers are advised to carry out a blood test after the immunisation is completed, to check whether the vaccination was successful. Travellers are at a lower risk of contracting hepatitis B and do not require a blood test.

Those thought to have a continued high risk of infection should consider having a booster after 5 years. Boosters should also be administered after exposure to the infection. The duration of protection provided by the vaccine is still yet to be established, it is however thought that it could be lifelong immunity but this is dependent on immune response.

The hepatitis B vaccine can cause mild side effects, such as redness and soreness at the injection site. Occasionally, patients feel tired within the first few days after the injection.

What is hepatitis b?

Hepatitis B is a type of hepatitis, a viral infection which can cause damage to the liver. Unlike hepatitis A, the hepatitis B virus is not usually transmitted via contaminated water but rather from person to person. It is often passed during sex or when using contaminated needles and medical equipment. Hepatitis B has a long incubation period of 30 - 180 days and is often symptomless.

Possible hepatitis B symptoms are feeling or being sick, tiredness and headache as well as flu-like symptoms. Some patients also develop a yellowing of skin and eyes, which is called jaundice. The infection can persist for a long time and become chronic hepatitis B, resulting in liver damage and failure.

If you are travelling to an area where hepatitis B is a common illness, you require a hepatitis B vaccine. The same goes for healthcare workers and medical professionals, who are more likely to be exposed to the infection.

According to the World Health Organisation, approximately 600,000 people die every year as a result of hepatitis B. The hepatitis B vaccine is 95% effective in preventing infection and its chronic consequences.

Who needs the hepatitis b vaccine?

Hepatitis B occurs in all parts of the world. In some areas, however, there is an increased risk due to the infection being widespread. Hepatitis B risk areas include parts of eastern Europe, Africa, South and Central America, South East Asia, Russia, India, China as well as some South Pacific Islands. If you are planning to travel to any of these destinations, your Superdrug travel nurse can advise on whether you require a hepatitis B vaccine. Superdrug travel clinics also provide a combined hepatitis A and B vaccine for travellers who require immunisations against both infections.

Preventing hepatitis b

Travellers are particularly at risk if they have an accident and require medical treatment in a country with a high incidence of hepatitis B and a health care system with limited resources. In these circumstances, injections might be re-used or blood transfusions may not be screened for hep B. The hepatitis B vaccine prevents infection and protects you in case of such an emergency.

Hepatitis B is also transmitted during sexual intercourse. If you have sexual intercourse during your travels, always ensure you use a condom to prevent transmission. Avoid procedures which involve piercing your skin, such as tattooing and acupuncture.

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