• Immunization: Hepatitis B Vaccine for Babies

    This vaccine is for babies whose mothers are carriers of hepatitis B.

    What is hepatitis B?

    Hepatitis B is an infection of the liver. It is caused by a virus. Most people who get hepatitis B recover completely. Some carry the infection for life and are called carriers.

    Carriers may pass on the infection to other people. They may also get liver damage or liver cancer.

    Can hepatitis B affect my baby?

    Yes. Babies whose mothers are carriers may be infected during birth and also may become carriers. Doctors in Ontario test all pregnant women for hepatitis B. If you are a carrier, a vaccine can protect your baby from infection.

    When will my baby get the hepatitis B vaccine?

    If you are a carrier your baby will get one needle at birth, and one when a month old. The third needle is given at six months of age. A special needle called immune globulin is also given when your baby is born.

    How well does hepatitis B vaccine protect my baby?

    The vaccine protects nine out of 10 babies who get all three needles. After the last needle, talk to your doctor about a blood test for your baby. This test will show how well the vaccine is working.

    Is hepatitis B vaccine safe?

    Yes. Some babies may have mild pain, swelling or redness where the needle was given. A few get a slight fever or upset stomach. You should always discuss the benefits and risks of any vaccine with your doctor.

    When should I call my doctor?

    Call your doctor right away if your baby has any of these signs after getting a needle :

    trouble breathing;
    itchy raised blotches;
    swelling of face and mouth;
    high fever (over 40°C or 104°F).
    Can others in my family get hepatitis B?

    Yes. If you are a carrier, your sexual partner may also need the vaccine. Other people who live in your home may also need the vaccine. It protects children, adolescents and adults from getting hepatitis B.

    What if I have more questions about hepatitis B?

    Talk to your doctor or, contact your local public health unit.

    Your record of protection

    After you or your child get any immunization, make sure your doctor updates your personal immunization record, such as your “Yellow Card.” Keep it in a safe place !



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