Several different makes of hepatitis B vaccine are used in the UK. For full information about side effects, ask for the Patient Information Leaflet for the vaccine you are offered. Side effects reported for hepatitis B vaccines in general are listed below.
Very common (affecting more than 1 in 10 people at each dose):
- Pain, redness and hardness at the injection site
- Feeling tired or irritable
- Loss of appetite
Common (affecting up to 1 in 10 people at each dose):
- High temperature (fever) above 37.5 degrees
- Feeling sick or being sick
- Diarrhoea or pain in the stomach
- Swelling, bruising or itching at the injection site
- Generally feeling unwell
Uncommon (affecting up to 1 in 100 people at each dose):
- Feeling dizzy
- Aching muscles
- Flu-like symptoms
Rare (affecting up to 1 in 1000 people at each dose):
- Low blood pressure
- Joint pain (arthralgia)
- Hives, rash or itchiness
- Pins and needles (paraesthesia)
- Swollen glands in the neck, armpit or groin (lymphadenopathy)
More serious side effects are very rare (affecting fewer than 1 in 10,000 people at each dose). You should consult your doctor if you or your child experiences suspected serious side effects after vaccination. This is mainly to check that it is the vaccine causing the symptoms, and not some unrelated disease.
As with any vaccine, medicine or food, there is a very small chance of a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis). Anaphylaxis is different from less severe allergic reactions because it causes life-threatening breathing and/or circulation problems. It is always extremely serious but can be treated with adrenaline. Health care workers who give vaccines know how to do this. In the UK between 1997 and 2003 there were a total of 130 reports of anaphylaxis following ALL immunisations. Around 117 million doses of vaccines were given in the UK during this period. This means that the overall rate of anaphylaxis is around 1 in 900,000.
More information on side effects
Reactions listed under ‘possible side effects’ or ‘adverse events’ on vaccine product information sheets may not all be directly linked to the vaccine. See Vaccine side effects and adverse reactions for more information on why this is the case.
If you are concerned about any reactions that occur after vaccination, consult your doctor. In the UK you can report suspected vaccine side effects to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) through the Yellow Card Scheme . You can also contact the MHRA to ask for data on Yellow Card reports for individual vaccines . See more information on the Yellow Card scheme and monitoring of vaccine safety.