Vaqta Vaccine

Vaqta is an immunization against a liver disease caused by the Hepatitis A virus (HAV). Severe side effects are rare, but fevers occur in 16% of children under 2 years old who get Vaqta. The risk increases to 27% when Vaqta is given with other vaccines.

What is Vaqta?

Hepatitis A VaccineVAQTA® is a Hepatitis A vaccine that is approved for people who are 12 months of age and older. Vaqta is manufactured by Merck & Co. and it was approved in the United States in 1996.

How is Vaqta given?

Vaqta is given in an intramuscular injection in the thigh on children younger than 2 years old and in the upper arm on older children and adults. Children and teenagers up to 18 years old get a 0.5-mL dose and another 0.5-mL booster shot 6-18 months later. Adults get a 1-mL dose and another 1-mL booster shot 6-18 months later.

How many shots do I need?

Two shots given 6 months apart.

Who should get Vaqta?

The following are general recommendations for Hepatitis A vaccination:

  • All children between their first and second birthday (12-23 months of age)
  • Anyone 1 year of age and older traveling or working in countries with high rates of Hepatitis A (everywhere EXCEPT the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Western Europe, Japan, and Canada)
  • People who live in high-risk areas in the United States
  • Men who have sex with men
  • People who use street drugs
  • People with chronic liver disease
  • People with blood clotting-factor diseases like hemophilia
  • People who work with primates or in research labs that study Hepatitis A
  • People who have contact with an adopted child who has newly arrived from a country where Hepatitis A is common

Who should NOT get Vaqta?

Vaqta is contraindicated in people who have had a severe allergic reaction (e.g. anaphylaxis) to any previous Hepatitis A vaccine or any other ingredients in Vaqta (see below for a list). People who are sick should wait until they get better before getting Vaqta.

How long does it take for Vaqta to work?

A single dose of Vaqta starts to protect you from Hepatitis A within 2 weeks. It reaches maximum effectiveness within 4 weeks. Two doses of Vaqta given 6 months apart are necessary for full immunization.

How long does Vaqta protect me from Hepatitis A?

Two doses of Vaqta should protect children for 14-20 years and adults for about 25 years against Hepatitis A. Adults who have a high risk of infection should receive booster shots against Hepatitis A.

What is the vaccine schedule for children?

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that parents schedule their child’s first dose of the Hepatitis A vaccine between the ages of 12 months and 23 months old. The second dose of the vaccine should be given about 6-18 months after the first shot.

What is the vaccine schedule for adults?

Adults do not need routine booster shots against Hepatitis A if they were vaccinated as children, but the CDC does recommend booster shots for adults who are at high risk of infection or liver complications.

What are common Vaqta vaccine side effects?

The most common side effects of Vaqta in children under 2 years old were injection-site pain or tenderness (37%), swelling (21%), and fever (16% when administered alone and 27% when administered with MMR and pneumococcal vaccines), irritability (4%), upper respiratory tract infection (3%), and diaper rash (1%).

The most common side effect of Vaqta in children and teenagers between 2 years old and 18 years old was injection-site pain (19%).

The most common side effects of Vaqta in adults over 19 years old were injection-site pain, tenderness, or soreness (67%), headache (24%), warmth where the shot was given (18%), nausea (7.5%), fatigue (7.5%), muscle pain (5%), and lung infection (7.5%).

What are severe side effects of Vaqta?

Vaqta has been linked to the following severe side effects when given alone or with other vaccines:

  • Allergic reactions
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Asthma
  • Back pain and stiffness
  • Bacterial infections
  • Bronchial constriction
  • Cellulitis
  • Cerebellar ataxia
  • Constipation
  • Dehydration
  • Encephalitis
  • Fainting
  • Fever
  • Febrile seizure (fever-induced seizures)
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Rash
  • Seizure
  • Thrombocytopenia
  • Vomiting

What is SIRVA?

Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration (SIRVA) is a complication that is believed to occur when the vaccine needle accidentally punctures the bursa, ligaments, or tendons in the shoulder. This causes chronic pain and limited range of movement.

Is Vaqta a live virus vaccine?

No. Vaqta is an inactivated (dead) whole virus vaccine that is derived from a Hepatitis A virus. It is not possible for Vaqta to cause an infection with the Hepatitis A virus.

What is in Vaqta?

Each 1-mL adult dose contains 50U of Hepatitis A virus antigen, adsorbed onto approximately 0.45-mg of aluminum.

Each 0.5-mL child dose contains 25U of Hepatitis A virus antigen, adsorbed onto approximately 0.225-mg of aluminum.

Ingredients in Vaqta include: MRC-5 diploid fibroblasts, amorphous aluminum hydroxyphosphate sulfate, non-viral protein, DNA, bovine albumin, formaldehyde, neomycin, sodium borate, sodium chloride.

There is latex in the vial stopper, syringe plunge stopper, and the tip cap on Vaqta. This dry natural latex rubber may cause allergic reactions in some people.

Does Vaqta contain aborted fetus cell lines?

Yes. The MRC-5 cell line was developed in September 1966 from the lung tissue of a 14-week aborted fetus.

Where can I get more information?

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