Children between 12 and 23 months of age normally receive the hepatitis A vaccine, a series of two injections administered six months apart, according to Vaccines.gov. People under 40 traveling abroad can receive their first hepatitis A vaccine anytime prior to departure.
For older adults and those with a compromised immune system, chronic liver disease or other chronic conditions who are traveling within two weeks, doctors may recommend administration of an immune globulin vaccine in addition to the hepatitis A vaccine, states Vaccines.gov. The IG vaccine is also available to protect babies under 12 months of age who are traveling abroad, people allergic to a component of the hepatitis A vaccine, and those who opt not to receive the hepatitis A vaccine.
Those at risk of hepatitis A infection can receive the first vaccine at any time, notes Vaccines.gov. This includes those who use certain illegal drugs, men who engage in sex with other men, people with chronic liver disease and those exposed to hepatitis A-infected animals.
People who have had a life-threatening reaction to an initial hepatitis A vaccine should not receive a second dose, warns Vaccines.gov. Anyone allergic to a component of the vaccine should not receive the hepatitis A vaccine. People who are moderately ill should delay having the hepatitis A vaccine until they recover. The safety of the vaccine for pregnant women has not been established, so pregnant women considering receiving the hepatitis A vaccine should be cautious and consult with their doctors first.