Hepatitis B

When should I immunize my child to protect against Hepatitis B?

Your child is recommended to receive the immunizations that will protect him or her against Hepatitis B at the following age:

Dose 1 - Hep B vaccine

Grade 5

Dose 2 - Hep B vaccine

Grade 5

Dose 3 - Hep B vaccine

Grade 5

See full schedule.

Hep B quick facts:

Hepatitis B (or Hep B) is a virus that attacks - and can cause serious damage to - the liver, causing liver inflammation, cirrhosis or cancer.

Hep B is spread by contact with infected blood or body fluids. 

There is no cure for chronic Hep B, which is the leading cause of liver cancer.  

What can happen to my child if he or she gets Hepatitis B?

Hepatitis B is the leading cause of liver cancer.

In fact, 15% to 25% of individuals with chronic Hepatitis B will develop serious diseases of the liver, including liver cancer.

About the immunization:

Hep B can be prevented through immunization.

The vaccine that protects your child against Hep B is called the Hep B vaccine.

When your child gets the Hep B vaccine, your child’s immune system will be prompted to build antibodies that protect – or “arm” – your child against Hep B. 

Safety

Your child cannot get Hep B, or any other diseases, from the Hep B vaccine.

This vaccine is safe, and provides your child with protection against a disease that is not safe.

The risk that Hep B poses to your child’s health is far greater than any risk related to immunizing your child against Hep B. 

Learn more about general vaccine safety here.

Safety checks before immunization

Your child can receive Hep B immunization through his or her in-school immunization program.  Before your child can be immunized at his or her school, your consent is required.  You will receive a package from your school, including information on the Hep B vaccine, and a consent form.  The consent form will ask you questions about your child's health history, including medical conditions and allergies.  It is through this form that we make sure your child can safely be immunized with the Hep B vaccine.  Be sure to read the form and all other information provided to you, and complete the form in full.

If you have additional questions about the in-school immunization, you can dial 811 for Health Link, or contact the Public Health Nurse who provides immunizations in your school at the number included in the information package.

What might my child experience after immunization?

Most people have no reaction. If reactions happen, they’re usually mild, go away within a few days, and may include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Feeling tired or irritable
  • Sore throat
  • Redness, swelling and/or discomfort where the needle was given
  • Decreased appetite, nausea, or diarrhea

Unexpected or unusual reactions can happen after being immunized. Call Health Link at 811 to report any unusual reactions.

How can I manage my child’s symptoms after immunization?

No matter your child’s age, it is normal for him or her to experience some common, mild and temporary symptoms after immunization. 

Here are a few tips to manage these mild symptoms:

  • Fever. If you need medicine for fever or pain, check with your pharmacist or doctor. Follow the instructions on the medicine package carefully. If you are not sure whether your child’s fever is related to the immunization, dial 811 for Health Link or talk to your doctor or pharmacist, before giving your child medicine. Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than 19 years of age. Aspirin increases the risk of a rare but serious disease called Reye Syndrome.
  • Swelling or redness around injection point. Put a cool moist cloth on the area for about 10 to 20 minutes. Talk to your pharmacist or doctor if you need medicine to help relieve the discomfort. Follow the instructions on the medicine package carefully.
  • Fretfulness and poor appetite. Sometimes a baby may be fretful, drowsy and refuse to eat for a few hours after immunization. Plan to relax in a quiet environment at home after immunization. Hold and cuddle your child when needed, and remember to keep the temperature at a comfortable level – your child is more likely to be fretful if he or she gets too warm.

Severe allergic reactions after immunization are rare, occurring at an estimated annual rate of only one to ten per one million doses of vaccine administered, and can be treated. Our nurses will ask that you stay with your child, in the immunization clinic, for at least 15 minutes after your child receives his or her immunizations. For the dose that your child receives in school, the nurse will also require your child to stay for at least 15 minutes after his or her immunization. This will allow the nurse to identify and treat any immediate allergic reaction that could occur.

If you are concerned about symptoms your child is experiencing after immunization, dial 811 for Health Link to speak to a registered nurse, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If your child is experiencing severe shortness of breath, call 911.