Hepatitis B is actually very preventable as long as the right steps are taken proactively. Studies have shown that vaccination along with post-exposure prophylaxis has actually significantly lessened the cases of infection. The risk is also significantly reduced by other methods like not having unprotected sex, not using contaminated needles and avoiding other contaminated utensils.
The Truth About Vaccination
The common Hepatitis B vaccine has a protein or antigen that helps stimulate the immune system to generate more antibodies to protect it from Hepatitis B. Engerix-B and Recombivax-HB are two common Hepatitis B vaccines in the USA. Three doses are given in a span of 6months to get protection.
Combination vaccines are also commonly available. These vaccines provide multiple protection from other diseases aside from Hepatitis-B. Notable examples include the following:
- The Hepatitis-b-hepatitis-a vaccine or Twinrix vaccinates both Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B.
- The Haemophilus B-Hepatitis B vaccine is used to protect against both Hepatitis B and Haemophilus B. Haemophilus B is the common cause of meningitis.
- Pediarix actually provides protection against 4 common diseases. These are Hepatitis-B, Tetanus, whooping cough, and polio.
The Efficiency Of Hepatitis-B Vaccines
Generally speaking, Hepatitis-B vaccines are safe, efficient, and reliable. 95% of vaccinated individuals develop antibodies against Hepatitis-B and become protected from the virus. People in high-risk categories are recommended to be vaccinated for the Hepatitis-B virus. People in this category include health workers, public safety workers, dentists, sexually active people with more than one partner, and blood transfusion patients.
You can get vaccinated in most health establishments. These include STD clinics, dialysis clinics, and drug treatment facilities.
Other Notes On Vaccination
A blood test is usually the next step after vaccination. This is done to ensure that the body has indeed developed antibodies against Hepatitis-B. Although as noted above earlier, the success rate of vaccinations is 95%, there is still a small percentage of individuals who do not develop the desired antibodies. For these individuals, revaccination is often the best step. This is the next step for infants who do not develop the desired response.
Side effects of the vaccination are often mild and negligible. The rate of serious allergic reactions after vaccination is very low and is rated at around less than a single person to a million vaccinations. The most common side effect of vaccination is soreness.
Vaccination is highly recommended for all infants immediately after birth. Adolescents are advised to get immunized immediately if they have not done so at birth.
What Is Hepatitis B Immune Globulin Or HBIG?
Hepatitis B immune globulin or HBIG is a manufactured product that already has antibodies packaged against Hepatitis B. This product is used when a person has been exposed a lot to Hepatitis and are already at high risk of contracting the virus. HBIG should be given immediately after exposure to the Hepatitis-B virus. Around seven days after exposure is the recommended window. However, HBIG is not a suitable substitute for real Hepatitis-B vaccination. So after getting HBIG it is still highly recommended to get vaccinated against Hepatitis-B.