The hepatitis A vaccine is given to people who are traveling to parts of the world where hepatitis A virus infections are common. The hepatitis A vaccine is also recommended for all children living in the United States.
The hepatitis A vaccine is given as a series of two shots — the second administered six to 12 months after the first. Children receiving the first shot should be at least 1 year old.
The threat of hepatitis A virus
Although the threat of hepatitis A virus infection is high in developing countries, the United States is not, by any means, hepatitis A virus-free. Each year, about 2,000 people in the United States, many of whom are children, contract hepatitis A virus. And every year about 75 people die from hepatitis A virus infection. As a result, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all children between 12 and 23 months of age get the hepatitis A vaccine.
Reviewed by Paul A. Offit, MD, Lori Handy, MD, MSCE on January 26, 2017