The hepatitis B vaccine is the first line of defense against infection with HBV. The vaccine is safe and very effective, if the series is completed. For adults, the series includes three shots in the upper arm given over a six-month period.
The present recombinant vaccine uses genetically-altered bakers yeast and contains no blood components.
Side effects are minimal. Symptoms such as temporary soreness at the injection site, mild fever, or joint pain may occur, but are rare.
The OSHA standard requires that employers provide the vaccine free of charge to you if your occupation puts you at risk for hepatitis B infection. You may decline the vaccine. If you choose not to have it, you will be asked to sign a Declination Statement.
If you initially decline, but later choose to have the vaccine while still an employee, you will be able to receive it at that time. However, if your job puts you at risk for occupational exposure to HBV, you are strongly urged to receive the vaccine when it is first offered to you unless you have previously received the complete hepatitis B vaccination series, antibody testing has revealed that you are already immune, or you have been told not to receive the vaccine for medical reasons.