Vaccination Against Hepatitis A & Hepatitis B

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Vaccination Against Hepatitis A & Hepatitis B
Vaccination Against Hepatitis A & Hepatitis B
Video: Vaccination Against Hepatitis A & Hepatitis B
Video: What You Need to Know About Hepatitis A 2023, February

Vaccination against hepatitis A & hepatitis B

The hepatitis viruses A, B and C are among the most famous triggers of the classic infectious liver inflammation, also known as hepatitis. Hepatitis A usually takes the form of an acute inflammation of the liver that heals up again. In contrast, hepatitis B or hepatitis C viruses can not only cause acute liver inflammation. They can often also cause persistent, i.e. chronic, infections that can lead to liver cirrhosis or liver cancer.

In contrast to the vaccination against hepatitis A and B, there is no vaccination against hepatitis C.


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  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis A: vaccination
  • Hepatitis B.
  • Hepatitis B: vaccination

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is inflammation of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). The infection takes place from person to person by smear infection, it is a so-called fecal-oral transmission (excretion of the virus through stool, then transmission of the virus through impurities). However, it can also be transmitted through contaminated drinking water or food. The incubation period is three to six weeks. The disease begins with uncharacteristic general symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, fever and tiredness. As a result, jaundice can develop. Hepatitis A usually heals completely. In childhood, the disease is usually asymptomatic or mild, but infected children shed the hepatitis A virus and thus contribute to the spread of the virus.In adults, the severity of the disease increases. Hepatitis A can also be fatal. Due to the good hygienic situation in Austria, the hepatitis A virus only occurs in outbreak situations in Austria, especially when it is introduced after stays abroad. However, in recent years hepatitis A cases have increased due to the consumption of contaminated food.

Hepatitis A: vaccination

  • Child vaccination: The hepatitis A vaccination is not included in the free vaccination program. Due to the introduction and spread of hepatitis A viruses following long-distance trips abroad, which lead to outbreaks especially in kindergartens and elementary schools, children should be allowed to enter community facilities from the age of one (up to the age of 10 or leaving elementary school)) be vaccinated against hepatitis A. In addition to protecting the child for decades, vaccination also eliminates the main source of infection for adults.
  • Adult vaccination : Vaccination is recommended for all adults who want to protect themselves. Vaccination is also particularly important for people who have an increased risk of being infected with hepatitis A viruses at work, e.g. people in social professions or medical institutions, people working in restaurants and food businesses, refugee carers, sewerage and sewage works personnel, Emergency services, Jusitz / prison guard, funeral services, agriculture or sex work. Protection is also particularly important for people who are at risk of developing hepatitis A particularly badly, such as people with pre-existing liver diseases or chronic intestinal diseases. Details on indications can be found under Vaccination Plan 2020, Chapter Hepatitis A.

Vaccination schedule

Primary vaccination: for children from 1 year of age and adults: 2 doses, 2nd dose at least six months after the 1st dose. From the age of 1, you can also vaccinate in combination with hepatitis B (children's formulation up to the age of 16) (combination vaccine hepatitis A and hepatitis B, 3 doses, 2nd dose 1 month after the 1st dose, 3rd dose 6th dose) –12 months after the 2nd dose).

Further hepatitis A booster vaccinations are probably no longer necessary if the basic vaccination was given when the immune situation was not impaired. In over 90 percent of those vaccinated, specific antibodies are still detectable three to four decades after the primary vaccination.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is inflammation of the liver caused by highly infectious hepatitis B viruses (HBV). The pathogens are transmitted from the infected mother to the newborn through sexual contact, blood or bloody contact with the mucous membrane or non-intact skin, through needle and incision injuries and during the birth process.

More than two billion people worldwide live with existing or past infections. An estimated 240 million people are chronically infected. Every year 780,000 people worldwide die from the direct consequences of hepatitis B. Hepatitis B is therefore a major global health problem and is one of the most common viral infectious agents in humans. Since humans are the only relevant host and highly effective, excellently tolerated vaccines are available (more than a billion vaccine doses have been administered since 1982), the WHO has decided to eradicate HBV worldwide. Since 2005 the WHO has recommended that all people should be immunized against hepatitis B. It is estimated that around 100,000 people in Austria carry the hepatitis B virus,one speaks of chronic hepatitis B virus carriers.

The incubation period averages 75 days. In addition to a possible subclinical course, there are some special clinical courses:

  • Fulminant hepatitis B: In this course, the liver inflammation is particularly pronounced and the organ can be completely destroyed in a short time. Fulminant hepatitis B is therefore often fatal.
  • Chronic hepatitis B: With hepatitis B there is a risk that the liver inflammation will become chronic and permanent damage such as liver cirrhosis or liver cancer will occur. People can pass the infection on for years. The development of liver cirrhosis is also associated with a significantly reduced life expectancy.

Note Children of mothers who are infected with the hepatitis B virus must be treated as soon as possible after birth to prevent the newborn from becoming ill. For details see vaccination plan 2020, chapter hepatitis B.

Hepatitis B: vaccination

  • Child vaccination: The hepatitis B vaccination is included in the free child vaccination program. As part of the six-fold vaccination, the vaccination against hepatitis B (HBV) is administered in the 3rd, 5th and 12th (-14th) month of life. After the basic immunization in infancy or toddler age, a booster vaccination is recommended from the age of 7 to the age of 15 and is available in the free child vaccination program. Routine further booster vaccinations or titer controls are only necessary for people at risk. If there is no basic immunization, the hepatitis B immunization should be carried out at the latest when the student leaves school, as the risk of infection increases again from this age onwards. The hepatitis B vaccination is available up to the age of 15 as part of the free vaccination plan.
  • Adult vaccination : The hepatitis B vaccination is generally recommended in Austria; it can and should be made up at any age.

Note After the primary immunization in adulthood (no risk groups), no further booster vaccinations or titer controls are generally recommended.

For risk groups, titer controls and booster vaccinations are planned; details and a list of the groups affected can be found in the Austrian vaccination plan.

Vaccination schedule

  • Basic immunization in infancy: 2 + 1 scheme: 0/2 months / 6–9 months after the 2nd vaccination, according to the recommendations in the 3rd, 5th and 12th month of life. The vaccination against hepatitis B is available in the six-way vaccination of the free vaccination concept.
  • Primary vaccination: 0/1 / 6–12 months; accelerated scheme: 0/1/2/12 months.
  • Rapid immunization : 0/7/21 days / 12 months.
  • Booster vaccination: Only refresh after school-age infant vaccination (free of charge in the vaccination plan), routine booster is not required (exception for people at risk).

    The hepatitis B vaccination can also be given as a combination vaccination with hepatitis A.

Note The risk for newborns of HBsAg-positive mothers of developing chronic viral hepatitis is particularly high at 90 percent, so these children must be actively and passively immunized immediately after birth. After that, the risk of becoming a chronic virus carrier after infection decreases. You can find detailed information on this topic in the current vaccination plan 2020.

For detailed information on hepatitis, see Liver Disease.

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