Hepatitis B is just one more potentially deadly virus that can be prevented through the administration of a vaccine. Since 1982, patients have the option of receiving Recombivax, or hepatitis b vaccine recombinant. This immunization is highly-effective at preventing the hepatitis B virus from causing liver infection, chronic disease, and cancer.
What Is Hepatitis B?
Hepatitis B affects millions of patients globally and causes chronic liver infections that increase the risk of cirrhosis and liver cancer. One of the problems in controlling the spread of infection is that the hepatitis B virus can survive up to a week outside a person’s body, and can only be detected over 30 days post-infection.
The hepatitis B virus can be spread a number of ways, including:
- Birth. In places where hepatitis B is common, it is often transmitted at birth from mother to child. It can also be spread during childhood through blood exposure, such as between friends or siblings.
- Fluid exposure. Hepatitis B may also be spread through contact with infected bodily fluids, such as mucus, saliva, or menstrual fluid.
- Sexual transmission. As the virus is present in vaginal and seminal fluids, the spread of hepatitis B may occur during sexual activities, especially in unvaccinated men who have sex with men and people who have multiple sex partners.
- Contamination. Any instrument that comes in contact with infected blood has the potential to infect another patient. Common methods of transmission include non-sterile needles and syringes (in hospitals or among persons who inject drugs), razor blades, dental tools, and tattoo needles.
Another reason the virus spreads so quickly is that most people do not have any symptoms during the period where they are most infectious. It is only after several weeks that the virus begins to cause symptoms, which include jaundice (a yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes), dark urine, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and extreme fatigue.
Hepatitis B is characterized by recurrent bouts of liver infection, which over the years cause scarring in the liver tissue that increases the risk of liver cancer. A patient who is suffering from a severe bout of hepatitis could suffer acute liver failure, a condition that must be treated immediately to avoid death.
Common and Rare Side Effects of the Hepatitis B Vaccine
Vaccination with Recombivax requires three different injections of the vaccine given over the course of six months. Recombivax has been known to interact with other vaccines, as well as some medications. The most common complications occur in patients taking steroid medicines, psoriasis drugs, rheumatoid arthritis medications, treatment for autoimmune disorders, or medications to prevent organ transplant rejection. Patients should consult with a doctor before receiving Recombivax while pregnant or breastfeeding.
Most people who receive the hepatitis B vaccine do not experience any lasting effects. The most common reactions to Recombivax include:
- Fever. Patients may experience a temperature of 99.9°F or higher for one or two days after immunization.
- Soreness in the upper arm. Patients may experience shoulder pain and soreness or a reddening and swelling in the arm at the injection site.
- Cold and flu symptoms. Many children who receive this vaccination suffer irritability, sore throats, nasal congestion, headaches, tiredness, or stomach effects (such as nausea or loss of appetite).
- Severe adverse reactions. Very few patients may experience sudden onset spells of fainting, dizziness, changes in vision, or numbness or tingling in the extremities.
- Allergic reactions. About one in a million patients who receive this vaccination are at risk of a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms of an allergic reaction usually happen within hours of immunization and may include swelling of the tongue or throat, rashes, seizures, fainting, or trouble breathing.
If you have suffered serious and long-lasting side effects as a result of the Recombivax vaccine, you may be eligible for payment through the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP) or by filing a vaccine injury lawsuit. Shannon Law Group is a nationwide vaccine injury law firm that helps victims from every state get adequate compensation for their medical bills, lost income, and unnecessary suffering due to vaccination. Simply fill out our online contact form today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our attorneys.