Diabetes Awareness Month: A Spotlight on Adult Hepatitis B and How To Protect Yourself

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Diabetes Awareness Month: A Spotlight on Adult Hepatitis B and How To Protect Yourself


We’ve all learned how frightening it is to live under the threat of the COVID-19 virus. During Diabetes Awareness Month, we’re taking a moment to shine a light on another virus that may not be top of mind but can have major health implications for people with diabetes: hepatitis B.

Spread through contact with infected blood and bodily fluids, hepatitis B is the leading cause of cirrhosis and liver cancer globally2  and people with diabetes have twice the chance of contracting the hepatitis B virus (HBV) compared to those without the disease1, making HBV a looming risk for those who are unprotected. The good news is, science is on your side. By talking with your pharmacist, you can protect yourself against hepatitis B through vaccination in just 1-month.

What You Need to Know About Hepatitis B and Diabetes

Every year, adults get sick from diseases that are vaccine-preventable. As a person with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, the risk of serious illness from viral infections like hepatitis B is magnified. Even if you do a great job managing your diabetes, your condition makes it more difficult for your immune system to ward off infections. While there is no cure for hepatitis B, a critical first step for protecting yourself is to make sure your vaccinations are up-to-date. In fact, the CDC recommends hepatitis B vaccination for adults (19 to 59 years old) with diabetes as soon as possible after their diagnosis.  

Need an Adult Vaccination Checklist?

To prepare for a visit with your doctor or pharmacist, here’s a list of recommended vaccines for people with diabetes3 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • Influenza vaccine to protect against the seasonal flu
  • Hepatitis B vaccine to protect against the hepatitis B virus
  • Pneumococcal vaccine for protection against a range of serious illnesses including ear and sinus infections, pneumonia, and bloodstream infections
  • Tdap vaccine to protect against tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough
  • Zoster vaccine for shingles protection

When it comes to protection against hepatitis B, many adults are vulnerable and might not even know it. That’s because only 25% of U.S. adults have completed their vaccine series4. One dose of the vaccine may not be enough to eliminate potential exposure.

Protecting Yourself Against Hepatitis B

There are several vaccine options to help prevent the hepatitis B virus. Older vaccines, approved in the early 1980’s, require three-doses given over six months, which makes completing the vaccine series time consuming and may leave people unprotected for 6-months.  A two-dose hepatitis B vaccine, HEPLISAV-B [Hepatitis B Vaccine (Recombinant), Adjuvanted], offers the benefit of being the only hepatitis B vaccine that protects with just two doses in one-month.

What’s more, HEPLISAV-B is clinically proven to be safe and effective in people living with type 2 diabetes. In a head-to-head clinical trial, HEPLISAV-B was proven to be 90% effective for people with type 2 diabetes in protecting against HBV; compared to Engerix-B, a three-dose vaccine series given over six months, which only protected 65.1% of patients.

Take Control of Your Health

Take action that empowers your protection against hepatitis B. Talk with your local pharmacist about getting protected against HBV and the benefits of HEPLISAV-B:


HEPLISAV-B is indicated for prevention of infection caused by all known subtypes of hepatitis B virus in adults 18 years of age and older. Please see Important Safety Information below.


Do not administer HEPLISAV-B to individuals with a history of severe allergic reaction (e.g., anaphylaxis) after a previous dose of any hepatitis B vaccine or to any component of HEPLISAV-B, including yeast.

Appropriate medical treatment and supervision must be available to manage possible anaphylactic reactions following administration of HEPLISAV-B.

Immunocompromised persons, including individuals receiving immunosuppressant therapy, may have a diminished immune response to HEPLISAV-B.

Hepatitis B has a long incubation period. HEPLISAV-B may not prevent hepatitis B infection in individuals who have an unrecognized hepatitis B infection at the time of vaccine administration.

The most common patient-reported adverse reactions reported within 7 days of vaccination were injection site pain (23%-39%), fatigue (11%-17%), and headache (8%-17%).

For full Prescribing Information for HEPLISAV-B, click here.


2Hepatitis B Foundation.



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