Hepatitis B Vaccination

Patient Experience

  • Reference Number: HEY1432-2024
  • Departments: Renal Service
  • Last Updated: 1 May 2024


This leaflet is about the hepatitis B vaccination. It gives information on what hepatitis B is, the benefits and risks of having the vaccination and the injection schedule for the vaccine.

What is Hepatitis B?

Hepatitis B is an infection of the liver caused by the Hepatitis B virus (HBV), which is spread from person to person through blood and body fluids. It is highly infectious, and can lead to liver cancer and scarring of the liver (known medically as liver cirrhosis) and death.

People with advanced kidney disease may need dialysis and this treatment involves blood and bodily fluids. This means they have a greater risk of being exposed to the HBV and becoming infected with it. The risk of this is minimized by strict infection control measures performed during the treatment. To further protect patients we also arrange for them to undergo Hepatitis B vaccination. These measures ensure the risk of catching HBV within dialysis units is minimal.

What are the benefits of Hepatitis B vaccines?

As with any treatment, vaccines have some risks. The most common for hepatitis B vaccines is pain or swelling at the injection site, muscle ache and fever (a high temperature). These symptoms usually improve without any treatment.

What is the Hepatitis B  vaccination schedule?

The renal team will advise you when you need to start the vaccines. Either three or four injections are given over a six month period Two months after completing the vaccination, you will have a blood test to see if the vaccine has stimulated your immune system to produce enough protective antibodies against the virus.

What happens after my vaccines?

Not everybody responds to the vaccine. Some people do not respond to the vaccine and fail to produce enough antibodies to protect them from the virus. We will check your body’s response to the vaccinations by doing a blood test two months after your last vaccine.

If this shows you have responded to the vaccine and are producing enough antibodies to protect against the virus, no further action is needed. We will recheck your antibody levels once a year to see if you need a booster injection.

If the blood test shows you have responded to the vaccine and produced some antibodies, but not enough for protection, we will give you another booster vaccine.  We will then check you antibody levels on an annual basis to see if you need another booster.

If the blood test shows no response to the vaccine with no antibodies, you will need to repeat the full course of injections.

Should you require further advice on the issues contained in this leaflet, please do not hesitate to contact the Renal Department on tel: 01482 675050.