Make caring for others safer

Hepatitis B is a type of hepatitis, a viral infection which can cause lifelong infection, cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver, liver cancer, liver failure, and death. Unlike hepatitis A, the hepatitis B virus is not usually transmitted via contaminated water but rather via bodily fluids such as blood or via contaminated needles.

Many people with hepatitis B have no symptoms at all and don’t know they’re infected. Others have flu-like symptoms and yellowing of the skin (jaundice).

Hepatitis B infection can only be identified by a blood test. Many adults with hepatitis B recover fully but about 1 in 10 adults can remain infectious and spread the infection to others. About 1 in 5 of this group could develop serious liver disease later in life.

Hepatitis B vaccine is available for all age groups. The hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for all infants, all children or adolescents younger than 19 years of age who have not been vaccinated, all adults age 19 through 59 years, and adults age 60 years or older with risk factors for hepatitis B infection. Adults who are 60 years or older without known risk factors for hepatitis B may also receive hepatitis B vaccine.

We also want to help look after the ones who do the heavy lifting when it comes to caring for others. Are you a nurse, carer, first-aider or any other kind of healthcare worker and require a hepatitis B vaccination? We have just the service for you.

Health Plus Pharmacy make the hepatitis B vaccinations convenient and accessible for all the community in Cardiff and Pontypool. Book an appointment with your local Health Plus Pharmacist to keep you safe.

About the Hepatitis B vaccine

Price: £49 per dose

Doses per course: 3

Price per course: £147

Full course upfront: £137

Course: The course consists of three doses. The second injection is given four weeks after the first, and the third injection should be given five months later (completing the course in six months).

Accelerated course: If travelling at short notice, you may be able to get an accelerated course. You will receive the second injection after seven days, followed by the third injection at least 14 days after the second.

Boosters: Once you have completed the course, you usually won’t need another booster for five years. Boosters are sometimes recommended after exposure to the disease.

How it is given: Injection in the upper arm.

Side effects: Possible side effects include soreness at the injection site and tiredness.

Children: The hepatitis B vaccine can be given from birth.

Additional precautions: If travelling to a country where medical resources are limited, carry sterile needles with you. Use a condom every time you have sex to avoid catching hepatitis B during sex.

Risk if you contract hepatitis B: Hepatitis B can cause a range of flu like symptoms as well as jaundice. It can become chronic and lead to liver damage and failure.

When to get vaccinate: In order to complete the full course in time, you need to get the first dose at least one month before travel.

What is hepatitis B?

Hepatitis B is a type of viral hepatitis which can cause damage to the liver. Unlike hepatitis A, the hepatitis B virus is not usually transmitted via contaminated water but rather via bodily fluids, such as blood or semen. It is often passed during sex or when using contaminated needles and medical equipment. Hepatitis B has a long incubation period of 40 – 160 days and is often symptomless.

If you are travelling to an area where hepatitis B is a common illness, you may require a hepatitis B vaccine. The same goes for healthcare workers and medical professionals, who are more likely to be exposed to the infection.

According to the World Health Organisation, approximately 887,000 people died as a result of hepatitis B and its complications in 2015.

Hepatitis B symptoms

Possible hepatitis B symptoms are:

  • feeling or being sick,
  • rash
  • joint pain
  • loss of appetite
  • tiredness
  • headache
  • flu-like symptoms

Some patients also develop a yellowing of skin and eyes, which is called jaundice. The infection can persist for a long time and become chronic hepatitis B, resulting in liver cancer, damage and failure.

Who is at risk?

The hepatitis B virus can infect infants, children, teens and adults. It is not a genetic disease – it is an infectious disease that is transmitted through blood. Although everyone may be at risk for a hepatitis B infection during their lifetime, there are groups of people who are at higher risk because of where they were born, their occupation or life choices.

The following is a guide for screening high-risk groups for hepatitis B, but the list certainly doesn’t represent all potential risk factors.

  1. Health care providers and emergency responders
  2. Sexually active individuals (more than 1 partner in the past six months)
  3. Men who have sex with men
  4. Individuals diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease
  5. Illicit drug users (injecting, inhaling, snorting, pill popping)
  6. Sexual partners or those living in close household contact with an infected person
  1. Individuals born in countries where hepatitis B is common (Asia, Africa, South America, Pacific Islands, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East) Individuals born to parents who have emigrated from countries where hepatitis B is common (see #7)
  2. Children adopted from countries where hepatitis B is common (see #7)
  3. Adoptive families of children from countries where hepatitis B is common (see #7)
  4. Anyone diagnosed with cancer prior to initiation of anticancer treatment
  5. Kidney dialysis patients and those in early kidney (renal) failure
  6. Inmates and staff of a correctional facility
  7. Residents and staff of facilities for developmentally disabled persons
  8. All pregnant women

hepatitis B vaccination

Immunisation requires three to four individual doses, administered by injection. The nurse will assess which course is suitable for you. Most travellers would be recommended three doses, one month apart.

Healthcare workers are advised to carry out a blood test one to four months after the course is completed, to check whether vaccination was successful. Travellers are at a lower risk of contracting hepatitis B and do not require a blood test.

Those thought to have a continued high risk of infection should consider having a booster after 5 years. Boosters may be needed after exposure to the infection. If you think you have been exposed to hepatitis B please seek medical attention urgently.

hepatitis B vaccination schedule

Three doses. The second injection is given four weeks after the first and the third injection needs to follow five months later. Accelerated course available.

Side effects of hepatitis B vaccination

Common and very common side effects include:

  • temporary soreness
  • redness or hardening of the skin around the injection site
  • fatigue
  • fever
  • gastro-intestinal disturbances
  • headache
  • loss of appetite
  • lymphangitis
  • malaise
  • muscle pain
  • irritability

How you can get meningitis B?

The bacteria that cause meningitis B live within the nose and throat and can be spread through close contact such as coughing, kissing or sneezing.

Certain everyday behaviours can increase the risk of getting meningitis B, particularly for teens and young adults, including:

  • Living in close quarters
  • Sharing drinks, eating utensils and smoking devices
  • Coughing and sneezing
  • Kissing
  • >Smoking

What happens if you get meningitis B?

Meningitis B can strike otherwise healthy people without warning and can progress quickly and be potentially fatal, sometimes within 24 hours. Up to 1 in 5 survivors will have long-term consequences, including brain damage, hearing loss and loss of limbs.

What is the meningitis B vaccine for?

The meningitis B vaccine can help protect against meningococcal disease caused by serogroup B. A different meningococcal vaccine is available that can help protect against serogroups A, C, W, and Y.

How effective is the meningitis B vaccine?

The meningitis B vaccine is highly effective against serious infections caused by meningococcal group B bacteria. It’s also thought that it’s likely to provide some protection against other strains of meningococcal disease, including meningitis C (MenC).

How do we know the meningitis B vaccine is safe?

Before they’re allowed to be used, all vaccines are carefully tested for safety and effectiveness. They’ve been through trials in the laboratory and among volunteers.

The UK is the first country to introduce the meningitis B vaccine into its routine immunisation schedule for children. The vaccine is already offered to children in the UK with certain medical conditions and has also been used to contain outbreaks of MenB disease. It has been proved to be both safe and effective.

How long does it take to have a Meningitis B vaccines?

The in-store consultation and meningitis B vaccination will take about 25 minutes. You will receive the first dose of the meningitis B vaccination (if suitable) after a pharmacist consultation. Then you will return for the second dose of the meningitis B vaccination at a minimum of four weeks later.

What happens in my appointment for the meningitis B vaccine?

Each meningitis B vaccination will be given in the upper arm. It’s helpful for you or your child to wear short sleeves or loose sleeves that can be rolled up. You’ll be asked to stay behind for five minutes after each vaccination to make sure there are no immediate reactions. Our pharmacist will talk to you about possible side effects before the vaccination.

If a child is being vaccinated, it’s important to approach the procedure in a calm way, as young children can be nervous about vaccinations, and to leave plenty of time before the appointment.

What is the difference between hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C?

Hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C are liver infections caused by three different viruses. Although each can cause similar symptoms, they are spread in different ways and can affect the liver differently. Hepatitis A is usually a short-term infection. Hepatitis B and hepatitis C can also begin as short-term infections but in some people, the virus remains in the body and causes chronic, or lifelong, infection. There are vaccines to prevent hepatitis A and hepatitis B; however, no vaccine is available for hepatitis C.