Hepatitis A is a highly contagious viral liver infection. It is passed from an infected person to another person through close contact or by eating contaminated food or drinks. Hepatitis A symptoms can last for up to 2 months and include fatigue, nausea, stomach pain, joint pain, intense itching, and jaundice. Some people, including children, have no symptoms but can spread the disease to others.
While Hepatitis A does not usually cause long-term illness, it can be debilitating while someone is sick with it. In rare cases, Hepatitis A can cause acute liver failure requiring hospitalization. Liver failure sometimes requires a liver transplant.
The Hepatitis A vaccine requires a booster. When someone gets both doses on time, they are more than 95% protected against is Hepatitis A.
The Hepatitis A vaccine is very safe. Like most vaccines, mild side effects can include redness or soreness where the vaccine is received, but no serious side effects have been reported.
There have been an estimated 34,000 cases of Hepatitis A in the U.S. since 2016. While people rarely have permanent or serious illness, it can make you very sick and exhausted for months. The vaccine is extremely effective and safe, so there is no good reason not to vaccinate!
Children need 2 doses of the hepatitis A vaccine. The first dose is given between 12 – 23 months of age and the second dose at least 6 months after the first dose.
Talk to your healthcare provider about what other vaccines your family needs.
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