There are different vaccines against hepatitis B depending on your age and situation. Some of these vaccines are free and some are recommended and come at a cost.
Routine scheduled immunisations
Tamariki are offered 3 doses of the diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio, hepatitis B, and hib vaccine. This is a combined vaccine that protects against hepatitis B as well as other diseases.
This is given for free as part of the National Immunisation Schedule when tamariki are:
- 6 weeks old
- 3 months old
- 5 months old.
Anyone under 18 is eligible to get the HepB vaccine anytime if they have missed any or all of their 3 doses.
Babies born to someone with hepatitis B
If you are pregnant, it is important to get tested early in pregnancy for hepatitis B. This is part of standard antenatal blood tests.
Pēpi (babies) born to someone who has hepatitis B need the HepB vaccine (Engerix-B) and Hep B immunoglobulin (HBIG). They need this as soon as possible after birth. This vaccine is free.
Pēpi also need this treatment if they are born to someone whose hepatitis B status is unknown.
They can then continue with their routine childhood immunisations.
At 9 months old, pēpi need to have a blood test to check they have good levels of immunity and to see if they need further immunisations. Some pēpi might need further immunisation.
Close contacts of hepatitis B
Close contacts of someone with hepatitis B are eligible for a free HepB vaccine (Engerix-B).
- household contacts
- sexual contacts
- after a needle-stick injury.
People with weakened immune systems
People with weakened or suppressed immune systems are eligible for the free HepB vaccine (Engerix-B). This includes:
- people who are HIV positive
- people with hepatitis C
- before or after planned immunosuppression
- after a solid organ transplant
- before or after liver or kidney transplants
- people on dialysis.
Your healthcare provider will know if you are eligible for this vaccine.
Other recommended groups (not funded)
Immunisation is recommended, but not free, for people with an increased risk of getting hepatitis B. This includes:
- people getting tested or treated for a sexually transmitted infection
- people with a high number of sexual partners
- people who have sex with sex workers
- men who have sex with men
- people with haemophilia and others who receive regular blood products
- people with developmental disabilities
- current or prior injectable drug users
- prison inmates
- migrants from countries with a high rate of hepatitis B
- people who may come into contact with hepatitis B at work — for example, tattooists or healthcare, childcare, prison, police, emergency or sewage workers.
People travelling to specific countries
We recommend you get immunised if you are planning travel to countries with a higher risk of hepatitis B. There is a cost for this.
Make sure you allow enough time to get all vaccine doses before you travel.
List of destinations — Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (external link)
Talk to your healthcare provider or a travel vaccine provider more information.