VAQTA: Inactivated Hepatitis A vaccine

VAQTA: Inactivated Hepatitis A vaccine

VAQTA vaccine is used to prevent the Hepatitis A disease. It is vaccine by MERCK. It is inactivated Hepatitis A vaccine.

This vaccine is available in adult and pediatric dosages. Pediatric dosage 0.5 ml contains inactivated Hepatitis A virus. Adult dose is 1 ml.

How is VAQTA vaccine available?

VAQTA vaccine is available as injection liquid form. It is available as 0.5 ml dose or 1 ml dose. It is available as pre filled syringe without needle. It is available in single dose form. It is packed in opaque box to protect from sunlight.

How is VAQTA vaccine stored?

VAQTA vaccine is stored at 2-8 degree Celsius. The temperature range should be maintained with the help of cold chain. The temperature range should be maintained at all levels of transport and storage. The vaccine should not be frozen. If the vaccine is frozen accidentally it should be discarded and not used for the injection.

How is VAQTA vaccine given?

VAQTA vaccine is given as injection on the antero lateral aspect of thigh in children with needle as intramuscular route. All the safe injection precautions should be followed while giving injection. The disposables should be discarded as per biomedical waste management protocols. The vaccine that has passed expiry should be discarded as per biomedical waste management protocol rules. For those above 19 years 1 ml dose is given. For those below 18 years 0.5 ml dose is needed.

For those who have bleeding disorder this vaccine can be administered subcutaneously and firm pressure is given after the vaccination. The vaccination should be preferably planned after getting the dose of clotting  factor in haemophilliacs.

At what age VAQTA vaccine is given?

  • VAQTA vaccine is given in routine immunization at age 12 months and second dose 6 to 18 months later.
  • If not given in routine immunization it is given at schedule 0, then second dose 5 to 18 months later.
  • Till age 19 dose is 0.5 ml and above that age dose for adult is 1 ml each dose.
  • This vaccine is not in routine immunization where Hepatitis A disease is not a health concern.
  • Travelers planning to visit endemic areas should get this vaccine at least 14 days prior to visit to those areas.
  • Prior Anti Hepatitis A antibody test may be done as if person has already developed antibodies to Hepatitis A may not need vaccine.
  • Additionally healthcare and lab workers who are likely to get exposed to Hepatitis A virus may need this vaccine.

How does VAQTA vaccine works?

VAQTA vaccine is active form of immunization but it is inactivated vaccine. This vaccine contains inactivated Hepatitis A virus in inactivated form. This antigen is obtained by the recombinant technology. When this vaccine is injected to a host the immunity of the host recognizes the antigen on Hepatitis A virus. The immunity is form against this virus and in the process the memory is also formed. When the real infection occurs the immune response is boosted against the infection and protects the person against the disease itself.

Safety with other vaccine:

VAQTA vaccine is safe with most other medicine and no drug interactions were noted. The other vaccine or other drug should not be mixed in same syringe as this vaccine.

Like other inactivated vaccines VAQTA vaccine is considered as safe in pregnant and lactating woman, but the risk benefit ratio should be evaluated by the caregiver.

Concomitant administration of typhoid, tetanus and yellow fever vaccine is safe with VAQTA vaccine.

Concomitant administration of VAQTA and anti hepatitis A immunoglobulin does not alter the protective effect of VAQTA vaccine.

What are side effects of VAQTA vaccine?

VAQTA vaccine causes side effect that are generally milder and can be managed at home and does not need hospital admission:

  • Fever is common side effect after the vaccination. It usually subsides in 1-3 days and can be managed very easily at home with medicine like paracetamol and sponging.
  • Swelling and pain occurs at injection site may last for 1-3 days can be managed with paracetamol and local cold compression.
  • Constipation and loss of appetite can occur after vaccination.
  • Nausea and vomiting may occur after the vaccination and it can be managed by oral syp ondansetron and oral rehydrating solution.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Muscular pain and joint pain.
  • Headache and fatigue.
  • Anaphylaxis and allergy is extremely rare side effect of the vaccine. Like other vaccines the vaccine should be administered at center where necessary personnel and drugs and equipments are available to manage if any reaction occurs.
  • Cough and nasal congestion.
  • Insomnia and crying.

To whom this vaccine should not be given?

If someone is allergic to any of components of this vaccine.

If someone has got sever allergic/anaphylactic reaction to this vaccine at previous shot.

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