The hepatitis B vaccine can be given either as a single vaccine (monovalent), or in combination with the hepatitis A vaccine (bivalent combination), or as part of the 6-in-1 vaccine (hexavalent).
There are currently five different hepatitis monovalent products on the market, for adults and children. Different products can be used to complete a course of vaccinations.
One of these products – Fendrix – is specifically for adults and young people aged 15 and over with poor kidney function (renal insufficiency). In addition, HBvaxPRO40 can be given to people who are already undergoing dialysis and those who will need dialysis in future.
Please refer to the patient information leaflets for more details:
There are three products of the combined hepatitis A and B vaccine available. Again, please read the patient information leaflets for more detail.
Finally there are two products of the 6-in-1 hexavalent vaccine used in the UK. You can find out more here.
Pre and post exposure prevention
As well as preventing hepatitis B infection before exposure, through the production of antibodies, the hepatitis B vaccine is very effective at preventing infection after a person has been exposed to the virus. Ideally, vaccination should start within 24 hours of exposure. However, it can still work up to a week after exposure.
For pre-exposure prevention, three doses of vaccine are required. This is the same for post-exposure prevention, although these are given in an accelerated schedule.
Where required, post-exposure doses are given as soon as possible after exposure, then at one month and two months. Some people, depending on their particular circumstances, such as occupation, risk of continued exposure and hepatitis B antibody levels may need a reinforcing dose of vaccine 12 months after their initial exposure, and again five years later. For more detail, please refer to Chapter 18 of the Green Book.
Hepatitis B immunoglobulin
Specific hepatitis B immunoglobulin (HBIG), made from the plasma of people who have been immunised and screened for other infections, such as HIV, can also give protection against hepatitis B infection after accidental inoculation, or contamination with blood infected with hepatitis B. This protection is immediate, but temporary. Babies born to mothers who are thought to be particularly infectious may be given hepatitis B immunoglobulin alongside vaccination, so a baby is protected while they develop active immunity from vaccination.
The hepatitis B vaccine is given either as a single (monovalent) vaccine, or in combination with the hepatitis A vaccine (bivalent combination).