Post-vaccination serological testing is recommended 4–8 weeks after completing the primary course for:

  • people at significant occupational risk, such as healthcare workers whose work involves frequent exposure to human tissue, blood or body fluids
  • people at risk of severe or complicated hepatitis B, such as people who are immunocompromised and people with pre-existing liver disease not related to hepatitis B
  • people who may respond poorly to hepatitis B vaccination, such as haemodialysis patients and people with bleeding disorders who received the vaccine subcutaneously
  • close contacts of people who are infected with hepatitis B virus, including sexual partners, household contacts and household-like contacts22

If serological testing 4–8 weeks after the primary course shows levels of antibody to hepatitis B surface antigen (anti-HBs) of <10 mIU per mL, check the person for acute or chronic hepatitis B virus infection by testing for serological markers, including antibodies to anti-HBs and hepatitis B core antigen.

In select cases, when hepatitis B virus infection is suspected, confirm with nucleic acid testing for hepatitis B virus. Seek expert advice about further management.

If there are no markers of hepatitis B virus infection, manage the person as a non-responder to hepatitis B vaccination. See Non-responders to hepatitis B vaccine are recommended to receive further doses and serological testing.

People who are at significant risk of hepatitis B (such as healthcare workers) are recommended to be tested for immunity if they were not tested for anti-HBs 4–8 weeks after finishing a primary course of hepatitis B vaccine. 

Booster doses
If people who receive serological testing after a primary course of hepatitis B vaccine have an anti-HBs level of <10 mIU per mL, they are recommended to receive a single booster dose (4th dose) of vaccine. 

People with immune memory established from effective previous vaccination should respond to this booster dose. 

After the booster dose, check for anti-HBs again 4 weeks later:

Page history

Last updated: 
4 June 2018
Last reviewed: 
4 June 2018

Definitions

anti-HBs
antibody to hepatitis B surface antigen