Hepatitis B

About Hepatitis B
About The Vaccine
Who Should Get The Vaccine
Where To Get The Vaccine

Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B is a viral infection of the liver that causes symptoms of fatigue, anorexia, abdominal pain, joint and muscle pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and "yellow jaundice" in the first stages of the disease. Long-lasting infection with Hepatitis B may destroy the liver (cirrhosis), lead to liver cancer, or cause death.

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is transmitted from the blood and body fluids of an infected person through another person's mucous membranes or broken skin, much like AIDS (HIV) is transmitted. The incubation period (time you were infected to the time you contract the disease) is from 6 weeks to 6 months. More information.

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About the Vaccine
Hepatitis B vaccine is produced in yeast cells. A portion of the Hepatitis B virus gene is cloned into the yeast and the vaccine is produced from cultures of this recombinant yeast strain. No genes, hence the vaccine cannot produce the disease in a person who receives the vaccine! A person who is allergic to baker's yeast or a person with a current illness cannot take the vaccine. Side effects of the vaccine can include soreness at the site and mild fever. Serious allergic reactions are rare.

The vaccination schedule consists of three injections: the initial immunization, the second one at 1 month, and the third one at 5 months from the second shot for optimum immunity. In the event of disruption of the schedule, the immunizations can still be continued, but a blood titer is recommended to determine if a fourth shot is needed.

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Who Should Get the Vaccine
  • Infants (Hepatitis B is now part of the routine infant immunization schedule).
  • Children 10 years of age and younger whose parents are from parts of the world where HBV is common.
  • Pre-teens and teens who have not already been vaccinated.
  • Adults at risk: health care personnel, select patient groups at risk, persons living in or working in an institution, persons who practice homosexuality, users of illicit injectable drugs, prisoners, morticians, sub-populations with a known high incidence, any work or activity that carries the possibility of exposure to another person's blood or body fluids.
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Where to Get the Vaccine

  1. University Medical Services provides immunizations by appointment (cost subject to availability)
  2. Local Health Departments
    • Greene County Health Department: 937-374-5600
    • Montgomery County Public Health Department: 937-225-4550
    • Clark County Health Department: 937-390-5600

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