Hepatitis B vaccine fact sheet

What is Hepatitis B?

Hepatitis B (HB) is a virus that spreads easily through blood and body fluids. The virus can stay alive on things like razors or toothbrushes for up to one week. It can cause damage, swelling or cancer of the liver. Each year in Ontario HB leads to about:

  • 350 deaths
  • 300 cancers 
  • 90 cases of swollen or damaged liver

What is in the HB Vaccine?

HB Vaccine Contents

Where else are they found?

Parts of Hepatitis B virus

Hepatitits B virus


Vegetables, cereal, deodorant

Sodium chloride

Human body, salt

Sodium borate

Water, soil


Human body, bread, bagels


Human body, fruits, fish

Is the Hepatitis B vaccine safe?

  • Yes!
  • Hepatitis B vaccine has been used in Ottawa Public Health school immunization clinics for over 25 years.
  • In 2016, only 2 serious reactions to Hepatitis B occurred in all of Ontario out of 250,000 doses given (Vaccine Safety Surveillance Technical Data Notes 2017).
  • You cannot get the hepatitis virus from the vaccine.

What are the side effects from the HB vaccine?

Most Common

Less Common

Very Rare and Serious

Redness, pain and/or swelling at the site, especially during the first 24 hours

Tiredness, headache and/or slight fever

Serious allergic reaction causing trouble breathing, swelling of the face or mouth, hives

Treatment: Apply ice to the area where you got the vaccine and/or take acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol®)

Clinic nurses are trained to treat severe side effects

How can I protect myself from the Hepatitis B virus?

  • Get the vaccine.
  • Be abstinent.
  • If you are considering having sex, there are ways to protect yourself against hepatitits B, talk to your parents, health care provider or for more information go to ParentinginOttawa/Immunization.
  • Make sure sterile tools are used for tattooing or body piercing.
  • Do not share razors, toothbrushes or other personal care items.

Compare the risks - the virus or the vaccine

Virus Risk

Vaccine Risk

1 in 10 infected children get acute hepatitis

Sore arm - 3 in 10 people

1-2 out of 100 with acute hepatitis B die

Fever - up to 6 in 100 people

9 in 10 infected children have no symptoms but can infect others (carriers)

10 in 100 infected people over age 5 get chronic hepatitis B. Up to 1 in 4 people with chronic HB die

Serious reactions very rare (Vaccine Safety Surveillance Technical Data Notes 2017)



How can I prepare for the vaccine?

  • Talk to your parent or guardian about the vaccine.
  • Learn ways to deal with your worry about the vaccination (focus on breathing, look away from needle, count to ten, etc.).
  • Wear a short sleeve shirt.
  • Eat breakfast and have an extra juice or small snack to prevent fainting (common with growing teens).

Did you have a Twinrix® vaccine?

Twinrix® is a vaccine that protects against both Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B. In Ontario, Twinrix® is not publicly funded. To be fully protected, you need 2 or 3 doses of Twinrix®. If you are unsure if you are fully protected against the Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B call 613-580-6744.

Do you have more questions about parenting?

  • Connect with a registered nurse from Health811 for free, secure, and confidential health advice. Service is available 24/7 in English and French, with translation support also offered in other languages. Call 8-1-1 or visit Health811.ontario.ca.
  • Connect with a Community Navigator from 2-1-1 for information about community programs and resources across Eastern Ontario. Helpline service is available 24/7 and in many different languages. Call 2-1-1 or visit 211ontario.ca.
  • Connect with other parents on the Parenting in Ottawa Facebook page.
  • There are a variety of services to make it easier for your child to grow up healthy in Ottawa.
  • You can update your child's immunization record using either the CANImmunize App or the Immunization Connect Ontario (ICON) Tool
  • If you have received a message from Ottawa Public Health such as a letter or a call regarding immunization, an infectious disease, or infection control lapse, please call 613-580-6744 and listen to the menu options carefully.






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