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Hepatitis B is a highly contagious liver infection that is transmitted via blood and other bodily fluids. We’re sharing information where you’ll learn more about this disease and how it can be prevented, including getting vaccinated.


The Hepatitis B Vaccine is the best way to prevent the highly contagious liver infection known as Hepatitis B.

What is the Hepatitis B Vaccine?

The Hepatitis B vaccine can either be a stand-alone vaccine or given as part of a combination vaccine where more than one vaccine is combined into one shot. The vaccine is usually delivered in a series of two, three or four shots. Patients must get all the shots in the series to be fully protected.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends that the following people should receive hepatitis B vaccination:1

  • All infants*
  • Unvaccinated children up until 19 years of age*
  • Adults 19-59 years of age
  • Adults aged 60 years and older with risk factors for hepatitis B

Most people who are vaccinated with hepatitis B vaccine are immune for life.

Do you need a vaccine before travel? Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for all infants, children and adults through age 59 years regardless of travel.* However, if you are planning to travel to any countries where hepatitis B is common, ensure that you have already been vaccinated for it.

Do children need to be vaccinated?* As of August 8, 2023, these states have the following vaccination requirements for Hepatitis B:3

children playing on playground

Required for childcare and grades K-12: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Childcare only: Maine, Montana and South Dakota. Grades K-12: Indiana, Iowa, New Jersey and North Dakota.

No requirement: Alabama.

Exemptions from vaccination requirements may apply for some children. Check with your state and local health department.

How many cases of hepatitis B are there in the U.S.? A total of 2,157 cases of acute (short-term) Hepatitis B were reported to the CDC in 2020. However, since many people don’t have symptoms, the illness is often under-reported.

The CDC estimates 14,000 cases of acute (short-term) hepatitis was closer to the actual total. They also believe that nearly 900,000 people are living with chronic (long-term) hepatitis B.4

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schedule your hepatitis B vaccine

Hepatitis B vaccines are available for patients eighteen years of age and older.


For your convenience, we accept most major insurance. To verify that your insurance is in-network, visit the Plan Your Visit page. We also offer a discount to those patients who choose to pay in full for their visit at the time of service. Self-pay services are $199.

What is Hepatitis B?

Hepatitis B is a liver disease that can cause mild illness lasting a few weeks. Known as acute hepatitis B, this short-term illness occurs within six months after someone is exposed to the hepatitis B virus.

While some people can fight off the virus without treatment, younger people – especially very young children – have a better chance of their acute hepatitis B becoming a life-long infection called chronic hepatitis B.4

How is it spread? The disease can be contracted when blood, semen or any other body fluid of someone infected with hepatitis B enters the body of an uninfected person. People can become infected through:2

  • Being born to someone infected with hepatitis B
  • Sharing razors, needles, syringes, drug-injection equipment or toothbrushes with an infected person
  • Contact with the blood or open sores of someone with hepatitis B
  • Sexual intercourse with someone infected with Hepatitis B
  • Exposure to blood from any sharp instruments

Who is at risk? The following groups are at greater risk for contracting the disease:1

  • Sex partners of anyone who has tested positive for hepatitis B
  • Sexually active persons who have had more than one sex partner during the previous six months
  • Those who have a sexually transmitted infection
  • Men who have sex with men
  • Those who have been exposed to blood
  • IV drug users
  • Infants born to mothers with hepatitis B
  • Those not vaccinated as infants
  • Anyone who is in the same household as someone who has tested positive for hepatitis B
  • Health care workers and public safety personnel who come into contact with blood and bodily fluids
  • Those on maintenance dialysis or pre-dialysis
  • Those with diabetes
  • International travelers
  • Persons with hepatitis C virus infection
  • Those with chronic liver disease such as cirrhosis, fatty liver disease, alcoholic liver disease, autoimmune hepatitis or who have an alanine aminotransferase (ALT) or aspartate aminotransferase (AST) level greater than twice the upper normal limit
  • Those with HIV
  • Incarcerated persons

Hepatitis B Symptoms

Symptoms usually develop two to seven months after the infection. They can last less than two months but some may experience them for up to six months.

Acute hepatitis B: This short-term illness has the following symptoms:2

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Jaundice (yellow skin or eyes)
  • Dark urine
  • Clay-colored bowel movements
  • Muscle, joint and stomach pain

Chronic hepatitis B: This long-term illness that occurs when the hepatitis B virus remains in someone’s body for an extended period. There are no symptoms, but it can lead to cirrhosis, liver cancer and even death.2 These chronically infected people may not look or feel sick, yet they can easily pass the hepatitis B virus to others.

What is the Hepatitis B and D Coinfection? It’s possible to be infected with both hepatitis B and hepatitis D at the same time. Hepatitis D, also known as “delta hepatitis,” only occurs in people who are also infected with hepatitis B. This can cause serious, short-term health problems and even liver failure. However, it usually does not lead to life-long illness.4

While there is no vaccine to prevent hepatitis D, the hepatitis B vaccine will protect you against being infected by it.

Is Hepatitis B Contagious? Yes. Hepatitis B can be spread by even microscopic amounts of blood, semen or other bodily fluids being passed from an infected person to an uninfected person.

While the virus can be found in saliva, it is not spread through kissing or sharing utensils.4

It is also not spread through the following:4

  • Coughing
  • Hugging
  • Sneezing
  • Breastfeeding
  • Sharing food or water

Have you been exposed to the hepatitis B virus? Call your provider or your local or state health department as soon as possible to learn where you can receive the proper treatment based on your age and overall health. If taken within two weeks of exposure, the hepatitis B vaccine and/or a shot called HBIG (hepatitis B immune globulin) may prevent infection if you get treatment as soon as possible, ideally within 24 hours after you think you were exposed.4

* MedExpress does not offer the hepatitis B vaccine to patients under 18 years of age.


1. CDC. Hepatitis B Vaccination of Adults. Last updated March 28, 2022. Accessed November 14, 2023.

2. CDC. Hepatitis B Vaccine: What You Need to Know. Last updated May 12, 2023. Accessed November 14, 2023.

3. State Hepatitis B Vaccine Requirements for Childcare and School (Kg-Gr 12) March 2023. Last updated March 1, 2023. Accessed November 14, 2023.

4.Viral Hepatitis: Frequently Asked Questions for the Public. Last updated September 2023. Accessed November 14, 2023.

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