Skip to content

Vaccines Health Center

Font Size

Hepatitis A Vaccine for Adults

The hepatitis A vaccine can prevent hepatitis A, which can be a serious (although rarely fatal) liver disease that may require hospitalization. The hepatitis A virus, present in the stool of infected people, spreads through:

  • Close personal contact, such as household or sexual contact, with an infected person
  • Contaminated water or ice
  • Contaminated raw shellfish, fruits, vegetables, or other uncooked foods

If you get hepatitis A as an adult, you are more likely to have signs and symptoms than young children who are infected. Symptoms may last less than two months and include:

Did You Know?

Under the Affordable Care Act, many health insurance plans will cover preventive care services, including checkups, vaccinations and screening tests, at no cost to you. Learn more.

Health Insurance Center

Which adults should receive the hepatitis A vaccine?

The CDC recommends that adults have the hepatitis A vaccine (HAV) if you:

  • Are traveling to or working in countries where hepatitis A is common (such as countries in Central or South America, Mexico, many Asian countries, Africa, and Eastern Europe); this disease is much more common than cholera or typhoid among international travelers.
  • Will have close contact with an international adoptee from a country where hepatitis A is common
  • Are a man who has sex with men
  • Use street drugs
  • Have chronic liver disease
  • Work with primates infected with hepatitis A or with the virus in a research lab

Also, if you work with food, you should consider getting the hepatitis A vaccine.

Are there any adults who should not get the vaccine?

Do not get the hepatitis vaccine if you:

How and when should you receive the hepatitis A vaccine?

You receive the injection of the hepatitis A vaccine in the muscle of your upper arm. Start the vaccine series when you are at risk of infection and at least one month before traveling. You need two doses at least six months apart.

There are also combination vaccines for adults that protect against both hepatitis A and hepatitis B. However, these have a different dosing schedule. Ask your doctor for details. You might prefer this option if, for example, you are traveling to countries with high rates of both diseases.

Today on WebMD

passport, pills and vaccine
25 ways to protect yourself from illness.
syringes and graph illustration
Create a personalized schedule.
flu shot signage
Get answers to your questions
gloved hand holding syringe
Which ones do you need?
woman walking
Vaccine Schedule Are Your Childs Shots Up To Date
69x75 thumbnail early pregnancy 02
gloved hand holding syringe
adult vaccine injection
woman peeking under sheets
cold season and vitamin C
Adult Meningitis Vaccines What You Should Know