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Drug Info > A > Avaxim
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DIN (Drug Identification Number)


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Brand Name


Common Name
hepatitis A vaccine

In this drug factsheet:

DIN (Drug Identification Number)


How does this medication work? What will it do for me?

Hepatitis A vaccine belongs to the class of medications called vaccines. It is used to prevent infection by hepatitis A. The vaccine contains inactivated hepatitis A virus that is not capable of causing disease, but instead stimulates your body to produce its own protection (antibodies) against the disease. Protection against hepatitis A is usually in place within one month of injection.

Hepatitis A is a serious disease of the liver that is spread most often through infected food or water by the hepatitis A virus. This virus is much more common in areas of the world that have a lower level of sanitation and sewage systems, but can be a problem in other countries as well.

Hepatitis A vaccine will help protect you from this disease when travelling to certain areas of the world, including:

  • Africa
  • Asia (except Japan)
  • parts of the Caribbean
  • Central and South America
  • eastern Europe
  • the Mediterranean basin
  • the Middle East
  • Mexico

The vaccine is also recommended for people who live in areas that have frequent hepatitis A outbreaks or who are at increased risk for infection. These may include:

  • chronic care hospital staff
  • employees and children in daycare centres
  • food handlers
  • health care workers
  • hemophiliacs and other people who receive blood products
  • members of the First Nations (Aboriginal peoples)
  • military personnel
  • orphanage staff and residents
  • people engaging in high-risk sexual activity
  • people who eat high-risk foods (e.g., raw shellfish)
  • people who handle primate animals
  • people with chronic liver disease
  • sewage workers
  • staff of mental health care facilities
  • users of illicit injectable drugs

This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.

Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.

Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.

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How should I use this medication?

A qualified health care professional will inject the hepatitis A vaccine. Avaxim is not recommended for children less than 12 months old.

For people over 15 years of age, one adult dose is injected into a muscle (preferably in the outer upper arm) with a repeat ("booster") dose 6 to 36 months later. For children 1 to 12 years of age, one pediatric dose is injected into a muscle with a booster dose 6 to 12 months later. For children between 12 and 15 years of age, either the adult dose or the pediatric dose may be used. Check with your doctor to see which dose is right for your child.

Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.

It is important this vaccine be given exactly as recommended by your doctor. If you miss an appointment to receive this vaccine, contact your doctor as soon as possible to reschedule your appointment.

Refrigerate the vaccine until use. If frozen, it will have to be discarded.

Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.

What form(s) does this medication come in?

Pediatric/Adolescent Vaccine
Each 0.5 mL dose contains 80 antigen units of inactivated hepatitis A virus. Nonmedicinal ingredients: aluminum hydroxide (expressed as aluminum): 0.15 mg; 2-phenoxyethanol: 2.5 µL; formaldehyde: 12.5 µg; polysorbate 80 in less than 750 µg; medium 199, water for injection up to: 0.5 mL; neomycin: trace amounts.

Adult Vaccine
Each 0.5 mL dose contains 160 antigen units of inactivated hepatitis A virus. Nonmedicinal ingredients: aluminum hydroxide (expressed as aluminum): 0.3 mg; 2-phenoxyethanol: 2.5 µL; formaldehyde: 12.5 µg; polysorbate 80 in less than 750 µg; medium 199, water for injection up to 0.5 mL; neomycin: trace amounts.

Who should NOT take this medication?

Do not use hepatitis A vaccine if you:

  • are allergic to any ingredient of the vaccine
  • have an acute, severe illness with fever



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