You have reached the legacy site. Please visit our new site at

 Hepatitis C
 Hepatitis B
HIV and
 Google Custom Search

Preventive Vaccines for HBV

There are currently two commercial vaccines used to prevent hepatitis B infection among infants, children and adults in the United States. They are both manufactured using recombinant technology and neither contains blood products. You cannot get hepatitis B from these vaccines.

Engerix-B, produced by GlaxoSmithKline
Recombivax HB, produced by Merck

There is also a combination vaccine for hepatitis A and B available for adults:
Recombivax HB  
Recombivax HB Description - RECOMBIVAX HB* Hepatitis B Vaccine (Recombinant) is a non-infectious subunit viral vaccine derived from hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) produced in yeast cells. A portion of the hepatitis B virus gene, coding for HBsAg, is cloned into yeast, and the vaccine for hepatitis B is produced from cultures of this recombinant yeast strain according to methods developed in the Merck Research Laboratories.
Energix-B Description - ENGERIX-B [Hepatitis B Vaccine (Recombinant)] is a noninfectious recombinant DNA hepatitis B vaccine developed and manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals. It contains purified surface antigen of the virus obtained by culturing genetically engineered Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells, which carry the surface antigen gene of the hepatitis B virus. The surface antigen expressed in Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells is purified by several physicochemical steps and formulated as a suspension of the antigen adsorbed on aluminum hydroxide. The procedures used to manufacture ENGERIX-B result in a product that contains no more than 5% yeast protein. No substances of human origin are used in its manufacture.
Twinrix Description - TWINRIX® [Hepatitis A Inactivated & Hepatitis B (Recombinant) Vaccine] is a sterile bivalent vaccine containing the antigenic components used in producing HAVRIX® (Hepatitis A Vaccine, Inactivated) and ENGERIX-B® [Hepatitis B Vaccine (Recombinant)]. TWINRIX is a sterile suspension of inactivated hepatitis A virus (strain HM175) propagated in MRC5 cells, and combined with purified surface antigen of the hepatitis B virus. The purified hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) is obtained by culturing genetically engineered Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells, which carry the surface antigen gene of the hepatitis B virus, in synthetic media containing inorganic salts, amino acids, dextrose, and vitamins. Bulk preparations of each antigen are adsorbed separately onto aluminum salts and then pooled during formulation.

Vaccine Side Effects and Safety

Common side effects include soreness, swelling and redness at the injection site. The vaccine may not be recommended for those with documented yeast allergies or a history of an adverse reaction to the vaccine.

The Hepatitis B vaccine is considered one of the safest and most effective vaccines ever made. Numerous studies looking at the vaccine's safety have been conducted by the Centers for Disease Control, World Health Organization, and other professional medical associations. They have not found any evidence that the vaccine causes sudden infant deaths (SIDs), multiple sclerosis, or other neurological disorders.

Vaccine Recommendations

The hepatitis B vaccine is recommended specifically for all infants and children by the Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics. The CDC also recommends that adults in high-risk groups be vaccinated.

The following list is a general guide for vaccination, but since every person is at some risk for infection, these guidelines should be individualized for each situation.

  • All infants at birth and all children up to 18 years.
  • Health care professionals and emergency personnel.
  • Sexually active teens and adults
  • Men who have sex with men.
  • Sex partners or close family/household members living with an infected person.
  • Families considering adoption, either domestic or international.
  • Travelers to countries where hepatitis B is common (Asia, Africa, South America, the Pacific Islands, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East).
  • Patients with kidney disease or undergoing dialysis.
  • Residents and staff of correctional facilities and group homes.
  • Any person who may fall into a high risk group due to occupation or lifestyle choices.

Vaccine Schedule

The vaccine is readily available at your doctor's office or local health clinic. Three doses are generally required to complete the hepatitis B vaccine series, although there is an accelerated two-dose series for adolescents.

  • First Injection - At any given time
  • Second Injection - At least one month after the first dose
  • Third Injection - Six months after the first dose

Cost of Vaccine

The three-shot vaccine series for children in the United States usually costs $75 to $165, but this can vary. Infants up to age 18 months, and sometimes older children, can receive the vaccine free of charge from most local public health clinics.

Insurance companies will usually cover the cost of vaccines for infants and children. There is also a federal program to help cover the cost of children's vaccines. For more information, contact the Vaccines for Children Program.

The hepatitis B vaccine costs more for adults. If an adult is in a high-risk group, the cost may be also covered by insurance. Contact your insurance company for more information about the hepatitis B vaccine.




































Hepatitis B Main Section

FDA-approved Therapies for Chronic HBV Infection
Baraclude  (entecavir)
  (lamivudine; 3TC)
  (adefovir dipivoxil)
Intron A  (interferon alfa-2b)
Pegasys  (peginterferon alfa-2a)
Viread  (tenofovir)
Tyzeka   (telbivudine)

Experimental Treatments

HBV Articles by Topic

Hepatocellular Carcinoma
Liver Transplantation

Children / Infants / Women
Hepatitis B Clinical Trials
Experimental Treatments
FAQs About Hepatitis
Tests for HBV
Vaccines for HBV