How do you protect yourself? Hepatitis B vaccination – protection for life
Hepatitis B vaccination prevents liver cancer, liver disease and cirrhosis caused by chronic hepatitis B infection.
The only effective way to protect yourself from hepatitis B infection is to be vaccinated — then you are protected for life. The hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for all at-risk people including:
- Migrants from South-East Asia, Africa and the Pacific Islands.
- People in the same household as someone with hepatitis B.
- Sexual partners of infected individuals.
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.
In Australia, babies are vaccinated within eight days of birth. This is followed up with three more doses within their next year of life. The vaccine for adolescents and older is usually given as three injections, with the second injection being given a month after the first, and the third injection five months after the second. If you are unsure of whether you have been vaccinated for hepatitis B, your doctor can do a blood test to find out.
If the doctor finds you have had hepatitis B in the past and cleared the virus, or that you have already been vaccinated, your body has developed an immune response to fight the virus, and you are protected and not at risk of getting hepatitis B.
If it is discovered that you have never been vaccinated and never had hepatitis B, you are at risk.
The only way that you will be protected against hepatitis B is to be vaccinated.