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Hepatitis A vaccination

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VOL: 101, ISSUE: 23, PAGE NO: 27

Generic and proprietary names


Generic and proprietary names
- Avaxim.



- Epaxal.



- Havrix Monodose.



- Vaqta Paediatric.



- There are also combined hepatitis A and B vaccines and combined hepatitis A and typhoid vaccines.



- The vaccine contains inactivated hepatitis A vaccine virus surface antigen and works by provoking the immune system.



- Duration of immunity is not known but a booster 6-12 months after the primary injection is thought to be sufficient to maintain immunity for 10 years.



- Vaccines and antisera.



Active immunisation against hepatitis A. Immunisation is recommended for:



- Laboratory workers who come into direct contact with the virus;



- People with haemophilia - transmission of hepatitis A has been associated with Factor VIII and Factor IX concentrates;



- People with haemophilia who have liver disease;



- People with haemophilia who have been infected with hepatitis B or hepatitis C;



- Those travelling to areas of high or moderate infection risk, particularly if sanitation and food hygiene are poor;



- Those whose sexual behaviour puts them at risk.



Immunisation should be considered in:



- Patients who have chronic liver disease;



- Intravenous drug users;



- Staff and residents of units for people with learning disabilities;



- Workers who come into direct contact with untreated sewage.



- Should be postponed in those with severe febrile illness.



- Hypersensitivity.



- It should not be given during pregnancy unless there is a definite risk of infection.



Common side-effects
- Transient soreness;



- Erythema;



- Induration at the injection site.



Rare side-effects
- Fever.



- Malaise.



- Loss of appetite.



- Headache.



- Diarrhoea.



- Fatigue.



- Nausea.



- Myalgia.



- Arthralgia.



- Generalised rashes.



- Singular intramuscular injection with a booster at 6-12 months.



- The deltoid site is preferred.



- The subcutaneous route may be used for people who have haemophilia.



Nursing considerations
- The decision to immunise should be based on a calculation of the risk of catching hepatitis A while travelling.



- Nurses should ensure that risk indication comes from an up-to-date and reputable source.



- Batch number and expiry date should be recorded in the patient’s records.



Patient teaching
- The patient should be advised of the necessity for food and water hygiene precautions as hepatitis A immunisation does not offer protection against other travel-related illnesses.



Nurses should refer to manufacturer’s summary of product characteristics and to appropriate local guidelines.

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