The hepatitis B vaccine
All you need to know about vaccination: vaccine recommendations, medical cover, and boosters.
Vaccines against the various forms of hepatitis usually have a good response.
For people exposed to hepatitis viruses, the benefits of being vaccinated outweigh the disadvantages of the side effects.
Three injections are usually required: the most common and effective vaccination plan is the following:
1st injection 2nd injection 3rd injection
First month 1 month later 5 to 12 months later
NB: there are two other possible vaccination plans. They give a quicker protection which could be useful for people travelling to a country where Hepatitis is common but they are less effective over time.
The French social security reimburses 65% of the price of the hepatitis B vaccine. The remaining 18 € may be covered by a private insurance.
In free vaccination centres and in cases where the vaccine is mandatory, it is free of charge.
For HIV positive people
The HVB vaccine is recommended for people whose T4 cell count is over 200/ mm3. For those whose T4 cell count is less than 500 / mm3, their weakened immune system could mean that several injections are required.
The antibodies are checked regularly to see if the vaccine is effective enough against the hepatitis B virus.
As a general rule, no more than five injections are given (if the vaccine is not effective after 5 injections, it is useless to continue).
On average, the vaccine is effective for about 10 years.
In France, it is recommended to get a booster shot five years after the first one. However it should be decided with your doctor on an individual basis, if for example you are very exposed to the virus or if you were vaccinated after the age of 20 (the vaccine is less effective).
For HIV positive people who have already been vaccinated against hepatitis B, it is recommended to get a booster if the antibody count is too low. The weakened immune system of HIV positive people is less efficient this case.
How to protect children after birth
Mother-to-child transmission of Hepatitis B is possible and frequently occurs just before or during delivery (contact with the mother’s vaginal secretions and blood).
The higher the viral load, the greater the risk of transmission. The most common protocol in this case is to inject immoglobuline straight into the child after birth and then to begin a vaccination plan from the first week (the first injection in the first week, the second injection in the first month and the third in the third month.