Hepatitis B Vaccinations
Employees who have routine exposure to bloodborne pathogens (such as facilities staff, cafeteria workers, nurses, first aid responders, etc) shall be offered the Hepatitis B vaccine series at no cost to themselves unless:
- They have previously received the vaccine series
- Antibody testing has revealed they are immune
- The vaccine is contraindicated for medical reasons
In these cases they need not be offered the series.
Although the vaccine must be offered to you by your employer, you do not have to accept that offer. You may opt to decline the vaccination series by selecting the decline option checkbox in the online test. Even if you decline the initial offer, you may choose to receive the series at anytime during your employment thereafter, for example, if your are exposed on the job at a later date.
As stated in the Emergency Procedures section, if you are exposed to blood or potentially infectious materials on the job, you may request a Hepatitis B vaccination at that time. If the vaccine is administered immediately after exposure it is extremely effective at preventing the disease.
The Hepatitis B vaccination is given in a series of three shots. The second shot is given one month after the first, and the third shot follows five months after the second. This series gradually builds up the body's immunity to the Hepatitis B virus.
The vaccine itself is made from yeast cultures; there is no danger of contracting the disease from getting the shots, and, once vaccinated, a person does not need to receive the series again. There are booster shots available, however, and in some instances these may be recommended (for example, if there is an outbreak of Hepatitis B at a particular location).