If you received the complete Hepatitis B vaccine series as a child, you do not need another series (or a booster) unless you have a specific indication.
The hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for all children younger than 19 years old. The vaccine is given as a 3 shot series with the first dose being given at birth. The vaccine series is usually completed by 6–18 months of age. The length of protection from Hepatitis B after vaccination is estimated to be at least 20 years.
As mentioned above, most adults do not need re-vaccination. An additional dose (i.e. 'booster) is only recommended in the following situations:
- If you are on hemodialysis, you are recommended to receive annual testing for 'antibody to hepatitis B surface antigen' (anti-HBs). If the levels come back too low (under 10 mIU/mL), you should receive a booster dose.
- If you are immunocompromised. HIV infected patients, those receiving chemotherapy are at particular risk of being immunocompromised.
If you are concerned about your risk for hepatitis B and think you may need an additional dose, see your doctor and ask for a 'antibody to hepatitis B surface antigen' test to be performed. This can determine your current protection level. If your results come back on the low end, your doctor may recommend the vaccine to you, even if you don't have any of the above indications. Certain people are more at risk for hepatitis B than others. These individuals include:
- Sexually active people who are not in a monogamous relationship
- People who use and share needles
- People who are sexually active with hepatitis B positive individuals.
- People with chronic liver disease, kidney disease, diabetes or who are immunocomprimised.
Lastly, if you were not vaccinated as a child and want protection from hepatitis B, you should get the vaccine as there are no contraindication simply because you are an adult.