Hepatitis A Vaccination for Babies

Child getting vaccination

With advances in the medical field, more and more deadly diseases now have vaccines which make us immune to them. Most of these vaccines are administered when young. Hepatitis A is a serious disease of the liver and has a vaccine that can be administered to your baby.

What is Hepatitis A Disease?

Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver that causes jaundice, vomiting, and inflammation of the liver. It is a serious disease with many serious complications such as liver cirrhosis, cancer or even death. Hepatitis A is a highly infectious disease and spreads through infected food and water.

Benefits of Hepatitis A Vaccine for Babies

  • The vaccine helps protect your child from Hepatitis A which is a serious disease of the liver.
  • The vaccine will ensure that your child does not miss school or other activities due to the illness.
  • Vaccination also prevents the spreading of the disease especially in places where there are other children such as daycare centres.
  • The disease is transmitted via contaminated food and water and so a vaccine will ensure that your child will not have to be extra careful when consuming food outside.
  • Hepatitis A does not have a cure and most children will recover on their own. However, the disease can be serious, and the vaccine prevents stress on the body.
  • In most cases of Hepatitis A in children, the symptoms are almost non-detectable. This makes it hard to diagnose and prevent the spreading of the disease.
  • While a vaccine will prevent the disease in a child, paediatric hepatitis A vaccine also helps curb an outbreak of an epidemic.

Which Children Should Be Given Hepatitis A Vaccine?

Children with a strong immune system who are between the ages of one to eighteen years can be given the Hepatitis A paediatric vaccine. This vaccine is especially recommended for children who are adopted as it is difficult to assess if the child has been exposed to conditions that could lead to the infection. The vaccination involves exposure to small amounts of the inactive pathogen. This allows the child’s body to develop a lifelong immunity to the disease.

Dosage of Hepatitis A Vaccine for Infants

Your child’s paediatrician will explain the nature of the vaccine and will recommend that the vaccine be given in two dosages. The gap between dosages will be from six to eighteen months.

Recommended Schedule of Hepatitis A Vaccine for Children

The first dosage of the Hepatitis A vaccine is recommended to be given between the first and second birthdays of the baby. The second dose can then be given 6 to 18 months later.

Types of Hepatitis Shot

Hepatitis is of five varieties and is depicted by the letters A, B, C, D, and E. All of them affect the liver but differ from each other in important ways such that each disease requires different treatments.

Hepatitis A is spread through contaminated food and the faeces of people who already have the disease. This type of hepatitis has a safe vaccine. Hepatitis B is transmitted through needles and blood transfusions. This variation also has a vaccine. Hepatitis C is more dangerous as it does not have a vaccine. Hepatitis D occurs when a person is already infected with Hepatitis B. The vaccine for Hepatitis B provides protection from Hepatitis D. Hepatitis E also has a vaccine but since the disease is rather new and affects only developing countries, the vaccine is not as widely available as the other vaccines. In most cases, the vaccines are available in an injection form, while China has oral vaccines for some forms of Hepatitis.

Child getting vaccination

Who Should Avoid Getting Hepatitis A Vaccine?

  • Children who have a weak immune system.
  • Children who are currently sick even if it is something simple as a cold.
  • Children who have had an allergic reaction to the first dose of the vaccine.
  • Children with severe allergies to latex, aluminium hydroxide, or 2-phenoxyethanol.

How is the Vaccine Given?

The vaccine for Hepatitis A is given through an injection to a muscle. It is best that you ask your child’s paediatrician to give this shot as well as the booster shot as she will be able to track all the vaccinations your child has had.

What If Your Child is Given an Overdose?

All vaccines are made in laboratory settings and are pre-packaged with the correct dosage in each vial. Since you will be getting the vaccination done by your child’s paediatrician, she will know how many doses have been administered. Due to these reasons, an overdose of the vaccine is highly unlikely.

What If Your Child Misses a Dose?

It is very important that your child gets the booster dose at the right time as this will give her the best fighting chance against the disease. The booster dose can be given six to 18 months after the initial dose which gives you plenty of time to plan your visit to the doctor. In case your child does miss the second dose, then inform your child’s doctor immediately. While the entire course need not be started again, the booster dose will have to be given as soon as possible.

Precautions to Take Before Getting Hepatitis A Vaccine

Be sure to get the vaccination done by your child’s paediatrician as she will be aware of your child’s medical history. If your child is not feeling well, it is best to postpone the shot as a compromised immune system will leave your child feeling weak and tired.

What Other Drugs Affect the Vaccine?

A total of 187 drugs are known to interact with the Hepatitis A vaccine. However, not all interactions are adverse reactions and it is best to let your doctor decide if the drug will react adversely to the vaccination. Let your child’s doctor know if your child is on any other medication including other vaccines. Once the doctor has administered the vaccination, then follow her orders on food and beverage restrictions.

Possible Side Effects of Hepatitis A Vaccine in a Baby

The chances of your child suffering from serious side effects after receiving the Hepatitis A vaccination are pretty low. In fact, being infected with the disease is far more serious than the side effects of the vaccination. Some of the common side effects that your child might experience are:

  • Soreness at the point of injection with tenderness and redness.
  • Mild fever
  • A headache
  • Nausea with loss of appetite

You must get immediate medical help if your child exhibits the following side effects:

  • Extreme fatigue or drowsiness.
  • Irritability for an extended period.
  • Seizures
  • High fever

Things to Take Care of After Getting Immunized

Your child might feel tired or have a mild fever after getting the vaccination. Be sure that your child eats well and according to the recommendation by the doctor. Keep your child hydrated and let her rest until she recuperates her usual strength. If the fever continues, then you could ask your child’s doctor if you can give her some mild medications.

How Much Does A Hepatitis A Vaccination Cost?

The cost of the vaccination will depend on the brand of the vaccine. In India, different brands sell the vaccines at a different price. Also, the doctor’s consultation fee will also vary according to where your doctor works. A private clinic might be more inexpensive compared to a big hospital chain. All in all, you are bound to find reliable and safe vaccinations for Hepatitis A to fit most budgets.

Hepatitis A is a serious disease that affects the liver and could lead to serious complications of the kidney. It is best that you start discussing vaccinations with your child’s paediatrician early and come up with a regular schedule for the vaccination.

Also Read: Chickenpox (Varicella) Vaccine for Babies