Hepatitis B Vaccine

Hepatitis B is a serious disease.

The hepatitis B virus (HBV) can cause short-term (acute) illness that leads to:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Tiredness
  • Pain in muscles, joints and stomach
  • Diarrhea and vomiting
  • Jaundice (yellow skin or eyes)

It can also cause long-term (chronic) illness that leads to:

  • Liver damage (cirrhosis)
  • Liver cancer
  • Death


About 1.25 million people in the U.S. have chronic HBV infection.

Each year it is estimated that:

  • 80,000 people, mostly young adults, get infected with HBV
  • More than 11,000 people have to stay in the hospital because of hepatitis B

Hepatitis B virus is spread through contact with the blood and body fluids of an infected person. A person can get infected in several ways, such as:

  • By having unprotected sex with an infected person
  • By sharing needles when injecting illegal drugs
  • By sharing needles when injecting illegal drugs
  • During birth when the virus passes from an infected mother to her baby

About 1/3 of people who are infected with hepatitis B in the United States don't know how they got it.

Hepatitis B Vaccination Schedule

People should get 3 doses of hepatitis B vaccine according to the following schedule. If you miss a dose or get behind schedule, get the next dose as soon as you can. There is no need to start over.

 Infant whose mother is infected with hepatitis B Virus
  • First Dose - Within 12 hours of birth Birth
  • Second Dose - 1 to 2 months of age
  • Third Dose - 6 months of age
Infant whose mother is not infected with hepatitis B Virus
  • First Dose - 2 months of age
  • Second Dose - 1 to 4 months of age (at least 1 month after first dose)
  • Third Dose - 6 to 18 months of age
Older child, adolescent, or adult
  • First Dose - Anytime
  • Second Dose - 1 to 2 months after first dose
  • Third Dose - 4 to 6 months after first dose
  • The second dose must be given at least 1 month after the first dose.
  • The third dose must be given at least 2 months after the second dose and at least 4 months after the first.
  • The third dose should not be given to infants under 6 months of age, because this could reduce long-term protection.

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