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All about: hepatitis A pediatric vaccine

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Generic Name: hepatitis A pediatric vaccine (HEP a TYE tis)
Brand Names: Havrix Pediatric, Vaqta Pediatric

What is hepatitis A pediatric vaccine?

Hepatitis is a serious disease caused by a virus. Hepatitis A is spread through contact with the stool (bowel movements) of a person infected with the hepatitis A virus. This usually occurs by eating food or drinking water that has become contaminated as a result of handling by an infected person.

Hepatitis causes inflammation of the liver, vomiting, and jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes). Hepatitis can lead to liver cancer, cirrhosis, or death.

The hepatitis A pediatric vaccine is used to help prevent this disease in children. The vaccine works by exposing your child to a small amount of the virus, which causes the body to develop immunity to the disease. This vaccine will not treat an active infection that has already developed in the body.

Vaccination with hepatitis A pediatric vaccine is recommended for all children between the ages of 12 months and 23 months, and in children and adults who travel in certain areas of the world where hepatitis A is a common disease.

Other risk factors for hepatitis in children include: receiving treatment for hemophilia or other bleeding disorders, or being in an area where there has been an outbreak of hepatitis A.

Like any vaccine, the hepatitis A pediatric vaccine may not provide protection from disease in every person.

What is the most important information I should know about this vaccine?

Hepatitis A pediatric vaccine will not protect your child against infection with hepatitis B, C, and E, or other viruses that affect the liver. It may also not protect a child from hepatitis A if the child is already infected with the virus, even if the child does not yet show symptoms.

The hepatitis A pediatric vaccine is given in a series of 2 shots. The first shot is usually given when the child is between 12 and 23 months old. The booster shot is then given 6 months later. Your child's individual booster schedule may be different from these guidelines. Follow your doctor's instructions or the schedule recommended by the health department of the state you live in.

Vaccination with hepatitis A pediatric vaccine is recommended for all children between the ages of 12 months and 23 months, and in children who travel in certain areas of the world where hepatitis A is a common disease.

Other risk factors for hepatitis in children include: receiving treatment for hemophilia or other bleeding disorders, or being in an area where there has been an outbreak of hepatitis A.

Be sure your child receives all recommended doses of this vaccine. If your child does not receive the full series of vaccines, he or she may not be fully protected against the disease.

Your child can still receive a vaccine if he or she has a cold or fever. In the case of a more severe illness with a fever or any type of infection, wait until the child gets better before receiving this vaccine.

Your child should not receive a booster vaccine if he or she had a life-threatening allergic reaction after the first shot.

Keep track of any and all side effects your child has after receiving this vaccine. When the child receives a booster dose, you will need to tell the doctor if the previous shots caused any side effects.

Becoming infected with hepatitis A is much more dangerous to your child's health than receiving the vaccine to protect against it. Like any medicine, this vaccine can cause side effects, but the risk of serious side effects is extremely low.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before receiving this vaccine?

Hepatitis A pediatric vaccine will not protect your child against infection with hepatitis B, C, and E, or other viruses that affect the liver. It may also not protect against hepatitis A if the child is already infected with the virus, even if he or she does not yet show symptoms.

Your child should not receive this vaccine if he or she has ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to any vaccine containing hepatitis A, or if the child has received cancer chemotherapy or radiation treatment in the past 3 months.

Before receiving this vaccine, tell the doctor if your child has:

  • a bleeding or blood clotting disorder such as hemophilia or easy bruising;

  • a history of seizures;

  • a neurologic disorder or disease affecting the brain;

  • an allergy to latex rubber;

  • a weak immune system caused by disease, bone marrow transplant, or by using certain medicines or receiving cancer treatments; or

  • if the child is taking a blood thinner such as warfarin (Coumadin).

Your child can still receive a vaccine if he or she has a cold or fever. In the case of a more severe illness with a fever or any type of infection, wait until the child gets better before receiving this vaccine.

How is this vaccine given?

This vaccine is given as an injection (shot) into a muscle. Your child will receive this injection in a doctor's office or other clinic setting.

The hepatitis A pediatric vaccine is given in a series of 2 shots. The first shot is usually given when the child is between 12 and 23 months old. The booster shot is then given 6 months later. Your child's individual booster schedule may be different from these guidelines. Follow your doctor's instructions or the schedule recommended by the health department of the state you live in.

To prevent hepatitis A while traveling, the child should receive this vaccine at least 2 weeks before the trip. Your child's doctor will determine the best dosing schedule for your situation.

Your doctor may recommend treating fever and pain with an aspirin-free pain reliever such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, and others) when the shot is given and for the next 24 hours. Follow the label directions or your doctor's instructions about how much of this medicine to give your child.

It is especially important to prevent fever from occurring in a child who has a seizure disorder such as epilepsy.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Contact your doctor if you will miss a booster dose or if you get behind schedule. The next dose should be given as soon as possible. There is no need to start over.

Be sure your child receives all recommended doses of this vaccine. If your child does not receive the full series of vaccines, he or she may not be fully protected against the disease.

What happens if I overdose?

An overdose of this vaccine is unlikely to occur.

What should I avoid before or after receiving this vaccine?

There are no restrictions on food, beverages, or activity before or after receiving this vaccine unless your child's doctor has told you otherwise.

Hepatitis A pediatric vaccine side effects

Your child should not receive a booster vaccine if he or she had a life-threatening allergic reaction after the first shot. Keep track of any and all side effects your child has after receiving this vaccine. When the child receives a booster dose, you will need to tell the doctor if the previous shots caused any side effects.

Becoming infected with hepatitis A is much more dangerous to your child's health than receiving the vaccine to protect against it. Like any medicine, this vaccine can cause side effects, but the risk of serious side effects is extremely low.

Get emergency medical help if your child has any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if the child has any of these serious side effects:

  • extreme drowsiness, fainting;

  • fussiness, irritability, crying for an hour or longer;

  • seizure (black-out or convulsions); or

  • high fever (within a few hours or a few days after the vaccine).

Less serious side effects include:

  • mild fever;

  • mild fussiness or crying;

  • headache;

  • dizziness, tired feeling;

  • nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhea, loss of appetite;

  • joint pain;

  • sore throat; or

  • swelling, redness, or a hard lump where the shot was given.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Contact your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

What other drugs will affect hepatitis A pediatric vaccine?

Before receiving this vaccine, tell the doctor about all other vaccines your child has recently received.

Also tell the doctor if your child has received drugs or treatments in the past 2 weeks that can weaken the immune system, including:

  • an oral, nasal, inhaled, or injectable steroid medicine;

  • medications to treat psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, or other autoimmune disorders, such as azathioprine (Imuran), efalizumab (Raptiva), etanercept (Enbrel), leflunomide (Arava), and others; or

  • medicines to treat or prevent organ transplant rejection, such as basiliximab (Simulect), cyclosporine (Sandimmune, Neoral, Gengraf), muromonab-CD3 (Orthoclone), mycophenolate mofetil (CellCept), sirolimus (Rapamune), or tacrolimus (Prograf).

If your child is using any of these medications, he or she may not be able to receive the vaccine, or may need to wait until the other treatments are finished.

There may be other drugs that can affect this vaccine. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications your child has received. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your child's doctor.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your doctor or pharmacist may have information about this vaccine written for health professionals that you may read. You may also find additional information from your local health department or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2006 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 2.03. Revision Date: 07/13/2007 8:45:24 AM.

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