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As of 2010, there were two types of hepatitis vaccines being tested and used on human subjects. Each one works very differently, as the first is not a vaccine in the traditional sense of the word. Rather than preventing a subject from contracting the virus, it helps the body fight an existing infection by boosting immune response. Of those given either vaccine, the only hepatitis C vaccine side effects reported tend to be pain and tenderness at the injection site. This does not mean that more side effects will not eventually be discovered, as the vaccine has only been given to a limited number of people.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) causes the liver to become inflamed and stop working properly. It is the most deadly of all forms of hepatitis, because until recently there was no vaccine prevention method available. Two types of HCV vaccines have been developed and used in a limited number of people. The hope is to eventually make their use widespread.
The first type of vaccine is given after the virus has already taken hold. Patients are injected with a substance that helps boost the immune system’s response to the virus and helps enhance liver function by clearing the virus out of the liver faster. The second is much like any other vaccine in that it uses a dead or inactive version of the virus to illicit an immune response. Once the immune system creates antibodies against the inactive virus, the body is then able to fight off the real thing if it comes in contact with it.
Hepatitis C vaccine side effects have included pain and tenderness at the injection site. These are usually mild and last a day or less. Redness may also occur in some people. Since the side effects of the hepatitis C vaccine have not been widely studied, it is safe to assume that additional symptoms will appear as more people are given the vaccines. Common side effects which appear with the majority of vaccines, including the Hepatitis B and Hepatitis A vaccines, include pain and swelling, slight fever, nausea, fatigue, headache, dizziness, and sometimes vomiting. These are usually mild, and the most severe of them only occur in a small number of people.
Other possible hepatitis C vaccine side effects include allergic reactions, although none have been reported as of 2010. These can range from mild to severe and may cause symptoms like shortness of breath, skin irritation or hives, dizziness, dry mouth, and shock. If any of these things occur and are severe, medical attention should be sought immediately. These are signs of anaphylactic shock and can be fatal if not treated promptly.