What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor About Hepatitis B Vaccine?
NVIC’s If You Vaccinate, Ask 8! webpage and downloadable brochure suggests asking eight questions before you make a vaccination decision for yourself, or for your child. If you review these questions before your appointment, you will be better prepared to ask your doctor questions. Also make sure that the nurse or doctor gives you the relevant Vaccine Information Statement (VIS) for the vaccine or vaccines you are considering well ahead of time to allow you to carefully review it before you or your child are vaccinated. Copies of VIS for each vaccine are also available on the CDC's website and there is a link to the VIS for the Hepatitis B vaccine on NVIC's “Quick Facts” at the top of this page.
It is also a good idea to read the vaccine manufacturer product insert that can be obtained from your doctor or public health clinic. Federal law requires drug companies marketing vaccines to include certain kinds of vaccine benefit, risk and use information in product information inserts that may not be available in the VIS or other information published by government health agencies.
Other questions that may be useful to discuss with your doctor before getting the hepatitis B vaccine are:
- If other vaccines in addition to hepatitis B vaccine are scheduled for my child at this office visit, am I allowed to modify the schedule so fewer vaccines are given at once?
- What should I do if my child has a high fever or appears very ill after vaccination?
- What kinds of serious vaccine reaction symptoms should I call to report after hepatitis B vaccination?
- If the hepatitis B vaccine doesn’t protect my child, do I have any other options for preventing hepatitis B infection?
Under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986, doctors and all vaccine providers administering routinely recommended childhood vaccines are legally required to give you vaccine benefit and risk information before vaccination; record serious health problems following vaccination in the permanent medical record; keep a permanent record of all vaccines given, including the manufacturer’s name and lot number; and report serious health problems, injuries and deaths that follow vaccination to VAERS. It is important to remember that not all vaccines recommended for adults are covered by the 1986 Act.
Remember, if you choose to vaccinate, always keep a written record of exactly which shots/vaccines you or your child have received, including the manufacturer’s name and vaccine lot number. Write down and describe in detail any serious health problems that develop after vaccination, and keep vaccination records in a file you can access easily.
It also is important to be able to recognize a vaccine reaction and seek immediate medical attention if the reaction appears serious, as well as know how to make a vaccine reaction report to federal health officials at the Vaccine Adverse Reporting System (VAERS). NVIC’s Report Vaccine Reactions—It’s the Law webpage can help you file a vaccine reaction report yourself to VAERS if your doctor fails or refuses to make a report
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