What is it and how is it used?
Ambirix is a vaccine used in infants, children and adolescents from 1 year up to and including 15 years to prevent two infectious diseases: hepatitis A and hepatitis B. The vaccine works by causing the body to produce its own protection (antibodies) against these infectious diseases.
- Hepatitis A: Hepatitis A is an infectious disease that affects the liver, caused by the hepatitis A virus. The hepatitis A virus is usually caught from food or drink that contains the virus, but is sometimes spread by other means, such as swimming in water contaminated by sewage. Symptoms of hepatitis A begin 3 to 6 weeks after coming into contact with the virus. These consist of nausea (feeling sick), fever and aches and pains. After a few days the whites of eyes and skin may become yellowish (jaundice). The severity and type of symptoms can vary. Young children may not develop jaundice. Most people recover completely but the illness is usually severe enough to keep people ill for about a month.
- Hepatitis B: Infection with the hepatitis B virus may cause the liver to become swollen (inflamed). The virus is found in body fluids such as blood, semen, vaginal secretions, or saliva (spit) of infected people. Symptoms may not be seen for 6 weeks to 6 months after infection. Sometimes people who have been infected do not look or feel ill. Others have mild flu-like symptoms, but some people can become very ill. They may be extremely tired, and have dark urine, pale faces, yellowish skin and/or eyes (jaundice), and other symptoms possibly requiring hospitalisation.
Most adults fully recover from the disease. But some people, particularly children, who may not have had symptoms can remain infected. They are called hepatitis B virus carriers. Hepatitis B carriers can infect others throughout their lives. Hepatitis B carriers are at risk of serious liver disease, such as cirrhosis (liver scarring) and liver cancer.
The vaccine does not contain live virus and cannot cause hepatitis A or B infections.
As with all vaccines, Ambirix cannot completely prevent infections with hepatitis A or B viruses, even after you have/ your child has received both doses.
Also, if you have/ your child has already been infected with hepatitis A or B virus (although not yet feeling unwell) before having both doses of Ambirix, the vaccine may not be able to prevent you/ your child becoming ill.
Ambirix can only help to protect you/ your child against infections with hepatitis A or B viruses. It cannot protect you/ your child against other infections that can affect the liver that can cause symptoms similar to those of hepatitis A or B infections.