In the U.S., there are two recombinant hepatitis B vaccines that have been approved for use in infants, children and adults. Both are equally safe and effective.
These vaccines are synthetically prepared and do not contain blood products - it is impossible to get hepatitis B from this type of vaccine.
The hepatitis B vaccine is an intramuscular injection that is generally administered as a three-dose series on a 0, 1, and 6 month schedule. The recommended doses depend on the vaccine brand and the person's age.
- 0 month - first dose of vaccine given
- 1 month - second dose given 1 month after the first dose
- 6 month - third dose should be given at least 2 months after the second dose, and at least 4 months after the first dose
Alternatively, Engerix-B (GlaxoSmithKline) is approved to be administered on a four-dose schedule at 0, 1, 2, and 12 months.
There is a two-dose schedule of Recombivax HB (Merck) that has been approved for children and adolescents 11 through 15 years of age. Using the two-dose schedule, the adult dose of Recombivax HB is administered to this age group. After the first dose is given, the second dose is given 4 to 6 months later.
Print the handy CDC schedule of Recommended Doses of Approved HBV Vaccines as a useful reference guide.
The Hepatitis B Foundation maintains a Hepatitis Vaccine Watch to track information about new vaccines for hepatitis A and B and those that are in development worldwide.