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Facts About...


What is it?

  • Hepatitis B vaccine protects against an infectious disease caused by the hepatitis B virus that can damage your liver. For more information, see Facts About... Hepatitis B.
  • There are several types of hepatitis B vaccines available in Canada. There are types that protect against hepatitis B virus only, and there are combination vaccines that protect against hepatitis B and other diseases (e.g. Twinrix®, Infanrix®). Talk to your health care provider for more information.

Who should receive the vaccine?

The following people are eligible to receive publicly funded (free) hepatitis B vaccine:

  • Grade 7 students who attend school in Ontario through school immunization clinics
  • Children less than 7 years old whose families have moved to Canada from countries with high rates of hepatitis B
  • Infants born to a mother who has hepatitis B
  • People who are living with a family member who has hepatitis B
  • People who have close contacts or sexual contacts with individual who has hepatitis B
  • People on renal dialysis and those with diseases requiring frequent receipt of blood products
  • People with chronic liver disease and people who are waiting for liver transplants
  • People who do injection drug use
  • Men who have sex with men
  • People with multiple sexual partners or history of a sexually transmitted infection
  • People with needle stick injuries

The vaccine maybe recommended for others at risk for the disease, however they would have to purchase the vaccine. Check with your health care provider to see if you should be immunized.

How effective is the Hepatitis B Vaccine?

  • Hepatitis B vaccine is 95% to 100% effective in preventing hepatitis B in people who receive a complete vaccine series.

What is the schedule for the vaccine?

Grade 7 students are offered two doses of hepatitis B vaccine. The second dose is given in four to six months after the first dose was received.

For grade 7 students who have previously received a hepatitis B vaccine (e.g., Recombivax® or Engerix®-B or Twinrix®), please see the preferred schedule below according to the Canadian Immunization Guide.



Dose 1

Dose 2

Dose 3


0-19 year

Initial dose

1 month later

5 months after Dose 2

Twinrix® Junior

1-18 years

Initial dose

1 month later

5 months after Dose 2


1-15 years

Initial dose

6-12 months later


  • If you received the Twinrix® or other hepatitis B vaccine from your health care provider, it is recommended that you complete the vaccine series through your health care provider. Alternatively, you may choose to receive the hepatitis B only vaccine through Durham Region Health Department immunization clinics.
  • Routine booster shots are not recommended at this time.

Are there side effects with the vaccine?

  • The most common reported side effects are:
    • Redness, pain and swelling where the needle was given
    • Headache
    • Fatigue
  • Side effects are usually mild and last only a short time. A cold, wet compress applied to the injection site and/or acetaminophen can be used to help relieve pain, swelling, and/or mild fever after vaccination.
  • Severe allergic reactions after vaccination are very rare and may not be related to the vaccine. However, if you think a serious reaction is developing, seek medical attention right away. Any unusual or significant changes in your health or your child’s health after the immunization should be reported to a health care provider and the Health Department.

Who should NOT get the vaccine?

  • Anyone who has had a serious allergic reaction (called anaphylaxis) to a previous dose of hepatitis B vaccine.
  • People who are sick with a high fever or serious infection worse than a cold should wait until they feel better before getting the vaccine.
  • If you have any medical conditions, discuss the vaccine with a health care provider to determine if you should receive it.
  • People who are pregnant or breastfeeding should discuss the need for hepatitis B vaccine with their health care provider before vaccination.
  • Any component in a vaccine may be a potential allergen. The most common for hepatitis B are:
    • Latex (Recombivax® only)
      • Engerix®-B (latex-free) can be given as an alternative
    • Yeast
    • Thimerosal (Engerix®-B multi-dose vial only)

For more information on contents of vaccine refer to the Canadian Immunization Guide, Evergreen Edition.

Don’t forget to update your record of protection

After you or your child receives a vaccine, update your immunization record (yellow card). For children in school or daycare, please call the Health Department to update your child’s immunization records. Keep your records in a safe place!

September 20, 2017

For more information call
905-668-7711 OR 1-800-841-2729