Hepatitis AVaccination

Vaccination against hepatitis A is not routinely offered in the UK because the risk of infection is low for most people. It's only recommended for people at high risk.

Vaccination against hepatitis A is not routinely offered in the UK because the risk of infection is low for most people. It's only recommended for people at high risk.

Who should have the hepatitis A vaccine

People usually advised to have the hepatitis A vaccine include:

  • close contacts of someone with hepatitis A
  • people planning to travel to or live in parts of the world where hepatitis A is widespread, particularly if sanitation and food hygiene are expected to be poor
  • people with any type of long-term liver disease
  • men who have sex with other men
  • people who inject illegal drugs
  • people who may be exposed to hepatitis A through their job – this includes sewage workers, people who work for organisations where levels of personal hygiene may be poor, such as a homeless shelter, and people working with monkeys, apes and gorillas

Contact your GP surgery if you think you should have the hepatitis A vaccine or you're not sure whether you need it.

Types of hepatitis A vaccine

There are 3 main types of hepatitis A vaccination:

  • a vaccine for hepatitis A only
  • a combined vaccine for hepatitis A and hepatitis B
  • a combined vaccine for hepatitis A and typhoid fever

Talk to your GP about which vaccine is most suitable for you. All 3 types are usually available for free on the NHS.

Plan your vaccinations in advance if you're travelling abroad. They should ideally be started at least 2 or 3 weeks before you leave, although some can be given up to the day of your departure if necessary.

Extra doses of the vaccine are often recommended after 6 to 12 months if you need long-term protection.

You can find more information about the various hepatitis A vaccines on the NHS Fit for Travel website.

Side effects of the hepatitis A vaccine

Some people have temporary soreness, redness and hardening of the skin at the injection site after having the hepatitis A vaccine.

A small, painless lump may also form, but it usually disappears quickly and is not a cause for concern.

Less common side effects include:

  • a slightly raised temperature
  • feeling unwell
  • tiredness
  • a headache
  • feeling sick
  • loss of appetite

Page last reviewed: 11/03/2019
Next review due: 11/03/2022