HBVAXPRO is a hepatitis B vaccine that contains an inactivated extract of the hepatitis B virus. The vaccine works by provoking the body's immune response to this virus, without causing the disease.
When the body is exposed to foreign organisms, such as bacteria and viruses, the immune system produces antibodies against them. Antibodies help the body recognise and kill the foreign organisms. They then remain in the body to help protect the body against future infections with the same organism. This is known as active immunity.
The immune system produces different antibodies for each foreign organism it encounters. This establishes a pool of antibodies that helps protect the body from various different diseases.
Vaccines contain extracts or inactivated forms of bacteria or viruses that cause disease. These altered forms of the organisms stimulate the immune system to produce antibodies against them, but don't actually cause disease themselves. The antibodies produced remain in the body so that if the organism is encountered naturally, the immune system can recognise it and attack it, thus preventing it from causing disease.
Each bacteria or virus stimulates the immune system to produce a specific type of antibody. This means that different vaccines are needed to prevent different diseases.
HBVAXPRO contains an inactivated extract of the virus that causes hepatitis B. It stimulates the immune system to produce antibodies against the hepatitis B virus and thus is given to prevent hepatitis B.
This vaccine is not given as a routine vaccine. It is only given to people who are at high risk of contracting hepatitis B. These risk groups include the following: travellers to high risk areas, healthcare workers who have direct contact with blood or body tissues, people such as haemophiliacs who frequently receive blood transfusions or blood products, close contacts of people with hepatitis B, babies born to mothers with hepatitis B, people with chronic kidney failure or chronic liver disease, staff and clients of day-care or residential accommodation for those with severe learning difficulties, workers in mortuaries, staff and inmates of prisons, intravenous drug abusers and their sexual partners and people who frequently change sexual partners.
The vaccine is usually given by injection into the muscle (of the upper arm for adults and children, of the thigh for babies and infants). People who are at risk of bleeding following an intramuscular injection, for example people with haemophilia or low numbers of platelets in their blood (thrombocytopenia), may be adminstered the vaccine under the skin. At least three doses are needed and it can take up to six months for the body to form adequate numbers of antibodies to provide immunity against the disease.
One of two schedules can be used to administer the vaccine. Two doses can be given a month apart and a third six months after the first dose. This provides the optimum protection against hepatitis B seven months after the first dose. Alternatively, three doses can be given a month apart, which offers initial protection against the virus more quickly. However, a fourth dose is needed 12 months after the first dose to ensure continued protection.
Some vaccines remain effective for a lifetime, while others have to be updated after a few years. The duration of immunity to hepatitis B following the primary course of three or four injections is not known precisely. Some practices recommend a booster dose five years after the primary course for people who continue to be at risk.
These children can still be given this vaccine, but your doctor may recommend that you give them a dose of paracetamol or ibuprofen if they develop a temperature after having this vaccine. It is important to follow the instructions given by the doctor and give the recommended dose only.
In both these cases an injection into a muscle could cause bleeding and, for this reason, this vaccine may be administered under the skin (subcutaneously) instead.
This vaccine should not be used if you are allergic to one or any of its ingredients. Please inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have previously experienced such an allergy.If you feel you have experienced an allergic reaction after having this vaccine inform your doctor or pharmacist immediately.
Certain vaccines should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding. However, other vaccines may be safely used in pregnancy or breastfeeding providing the benefits to the mother outweigh the risks to the unborn baby. Always inform your doctor if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, before having any vaccine.
Vaccines and their possible side effects can affect individual people in different ways. The following are some of the side effects that are known to be associated with this vaccine. Just because a side effect is stated here does not mean that all people having this vaccine will experience that or any side effect.
This vaccine contains no live virus and so cannot cause hepatitis B.
The side effects listed above may not include all of the side effects reported by the vaccine's manufacturer.For more information about any other possible risks associated with this vaccine, please read the information provided with the vaccine or consult your doctor or pharmacist.
This vaccine is not known to affect other medicines.
However, people being treated with medicines that suppress the activity of the immune system, for example chemotherapy, high-dose corticosteroids, or immunosuppressants, eg used following an organ transplant, may not produce adequate numbers of antibodies in response to this vaccine. As a result, the vaccine may be less effective in these people. If you are taking any of these medicines you should discuss this with your doctor. You may need an extra dose of the vaccine.
This vaccine may be given at the same time as other vaccines, but if so, the other vaccines should be administered into separate sites and preferably into separate limbs.
Ambirix and Twinrix are combination hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccines.