Hepatitis A Vaccine

Hepatitis A is a serious liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). HAV is found in the stool of persons with hepatitis A. It is usually spread by close personal contact and sometimes by eating food or drinking water containing HAV.

Hepatitis A Can Cause:

  • Mild "flu-like" illness
  • Jaundice (yellow skin or eyes)
  • Severe stomach pains and diarrhea

People with hepatitis A infection often have to be hospitalized. In rare cases hepatitis A causes death.

A person who has hepatitis A can easily pass the disease to others within the same household.

Who Should Get Hepatitis a Vaccine & When

  • Persons 2 years of age and older traveling or working in countries with high rates of Hepatitis A, such as those located in Central or South America, the Caribbean, Mexico, Asia (except Japan), Africa, and southern or eastern Europe. The vaccine series should be started at least one month before traveling.
  • Persons who live in communities that have prolonged outbreaks of Hepatitis A.
  • Persons who live in communities with high rates of Hepatitis A, for example: American Indian, Alaskan Native, and Pacific Islander communities and some religious communities.
  • Men who have sex with men.
  • Persons who use street drugs.

Two doses of the vaccine, given at least 6 months apart, are needed for lasting protection.

For more information, visit your local health department or Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Arizona Department of Health.