As of 2015, there are only vaccines against the A and B strains of hepatitis, and both require multiple vaccinations for complete protection, states WebMD. The hepatitis A vaccine comes in two doses, while the hepatitis B vaccine requires three or four different doses.
Although both vaccines can be administered separately, a combination hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccine is also available, reports Vaccines.gov. The combination vaccine comes in three doses given over a 6-month period, or in three shots over a 1-month period followed by a booster 12 months later.
If given separately, children should receive their first hepatitis B vaccine at birth and complete the dose by 6 to 18 months of age, state Vaccines.gov. To prevent against hepatitis A, parents must wait to vaccinate their children until the child is 12 months old. Vaccine.gov also recommends giving the two hepatitis A vaccines 6 months apart.
According to WebMD, both the hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccines are highly effective and provide immunity for up to 20 or 30 years and possibly life. Both have excellent safety records with limited side effects. The most common side effect of the hepatitis B vaccine is soreness at the injection site. The hepatitis A vaccine can cause headache, loss of appetite, tiredness and soreness at the injection site.