This site is intended for healthcare professionals

Go to /sign-in page

You can view 5 more pages before signing in

Hepatitis A vaccination

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

Hepatitis A is more common in countries outside Northern and Western Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand

Travel abroad is a common factor in sporadic cases in the UK

  • highest risk areas for UK travellers are the Indian subcontinent and the Far East, but the risk extends to Eastern Europe

  • are two products for immunisation against hepatitis A
    • an immunoglobulin provides rapid but temporary immunity
    • vaccine confers active immunity but response is not immediate
      • vaccines are available as either monovalent, or combined with either typhoid or hepatitis B
        • Hepatitis A monovalent vaccines and those combined with either typhoid or hepatitis B do not contain thiomersal - vaccines are inactivated, do not contain live organisms and cannot cause the diseases against which they protect

  • monovalent vaccines
    • currently there are four monovalent inactivated hepatitis A vaccines (which can be used interchangeably)
    • seroprotective levels of neutralising antibody may not be detected for 12-15 days following administration (2)
    • gives protection for at least one year.
    • if a patient is staying abroad for long periods or likely to travel repeatedly then a booster dose (usually given 6-12 months later - the exact time varies with product) will give protection for beyond 10 years

  • combined vaccination (hepatitis A + B or hepatitis A + typhoid)
    • may be used when protection against both diseases are required

Human normal immunoglobulin

  • Human normal immunoglobulin (HNIG) is prepared from pooled plasma derived from blood donations
  • use of HNIG should be limited to situations where it may have a definite advantage over vaccine
  • HNIG can provide immediate protection, although antibody levels are lower than those eventually produced by hepatitis A vaccine
  • because of a theoretical risk of transmission of vCJD from plasma products, HNIG used in the UK is now prepared from plasma sourced from outside the UK, and supplies are scarce

Reinforcing immunisation

  • a booster dose of hepatitis A vaccine should be given at six to 12 months after the initial dose - results in a substantial increase in the antibody titre and will give immunity beyond ten years, however, effective protection beyond ten years cannot be assured until this booster is given
  • until further evidence is available on persistence of protective immunity, a further booster at 25 years is indicated for those at ongoing risk


Related pages

Create an account to add page annotations

Annotations allow you to add information to this page that would be handy to have on hand during a consultation. E.g. a website or number. This information will always show when you visit this page.