Hepatitis b the disease and the vaccine

disease hepatitisThe Hepatitis-B-Virus is transmitted through blood contact or unprotected sexual intercourse with a person who is a carrier of the hepatitis B virus. Acute disease usually presents with jaundice, fatigue and vomiting. However, it can also pass unnoticed.

Vaccination against hepatitis B is recommended for everyone no later than adolescence. Vaccination against hepatitis B can be carried out from birth at any age. Depending on age and vaccination schedule chosen, several doses (2 to 4) are required, spread over a period of 6 to 12 months. It should be given at the latest in adolescence (between the age of 11. and 15. The treatment must be completed before the patient reaches the age of 18) and, if possible, before the start of sexual intercourse.

– Newborns of mothers infected with the hepatitis B virus. – Patients with chronic liver disease. – Individuals with immunosuppression.

– Medical and nursing staff. – employees in medical laboratories. – Drug-using. – Persons with frequently changing sexual partners. – close contacts of persons infected with hepatitis B. – Social workers, prison staff and police with frequent contact to drug users. Persons in institutions. Their caregivers.

For Travelers a hepatitis A/B combination vaccination is possible. Attention: As with all other travel vaccinations, the costs for this combination vaccination are not covered by the compulsory health insurance.

It is never too late to catch up on one or more vaccinations.

Degree of protection of the vaccination against hepatitis B

After a complete vaccination cycle, 95% of adolescents are protected for many years, probably for life. If vaccination is given after the age of 20 to 25, it is somewhat less effective. Since general vaccination of adolescents began in 1998, acute new infections have decreased by 84% among 15- to 19-year-olds. Between 1999 and 2003, not a single case was registered in vaccinated adolescents.

Known side effects of the hepatitis B vaccine

The vaccination is generally well tolerated. At the injection site, one in 10 people have a local reaction (redness, pain, swelling). Rarer are headaches, fatigue or fever as a result of the vaccination. These reactions disappear after 1 to 3 days. A severe allergic reaction to an ingredient in the vaccine is extremely rare (1 to 2 cases per million vaccine doses).

Sometimes health problems are reported within days or weeks after vaccination. In France, it was feared that the vaccination was responsible for these problems. However, numerous studies (1-4) have shown no increase in the risk of autoimmune diseases (e.g., multiple sclerosis) in persons vaccinated against hepatitis B. This is why vaccination against hepatitis B is recommended worldwide. More than 550 million people worldwide have been vaccinated without complications.


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