This vaccine gives protection against the hepatitis A virus, which is a cause of liver infection.
There are three types of hepatitis A vaccine available in the UK:
All types of hepatitis A vaccines used in the UK are inactivated. They do not contain any live viruses or bacteria, and cannot cause disease.
Who should have the vaccine?
The risk of infection from hepatitis A is low for most people in the UK, so the vaccine is only available free of charge to people at high risk of hepatitis A disease. This includes:
In Europe and the UK there is currently an increase in the number of cases of hepatitis A, mainly among men who have sex with men. Most of the UK cases so far have been in London. Public Health England is encouraging gay and bisexual men to practice good personal hygiene and ask about hepatitis A vaccination at their sexual health clinic appointments.
Vaccines are available for adults and for children aged 1 year or older. However, combined hepatitis A and typhoid vaccines are not licensed for children under the age of 15. For some vaccines only one initial dose is needed, and for others two or three doses are needed. Booster doses may also be needed for long-term protection. For more information, ask for the Patient Information Leaflet for the vaccine you are offered.