Consequences of incomplete Hepatitis vaccination?
February 29, 2008 5:25 PM   Subscribe

Is the third shot of a 3-shot Hepatitis B vaccination critical? And who should pay for it?

I'd like to preface by saying that I recognize this issue as ultimately rather petty.

I started work at a blood clinic awhile ago and was advised to get a Hepatitis B vaccination, which my employer would remunerate me for. I was asked to sign a memo stating that I was agreeing to get the vaccination, and that it would be at their expense. My doctor's medical clinic charges $40/shot for the 3-shot vaccination, which are administered like this: Get 1st shot, wait 1 month, get 2nd shot, wait 6 months, get 3rd shot.

The job at the blood clinic didn't work out and I was terminated by the clinic, after getting the first two shots. I was remunerated for those shots with no problems.

So it's just about time for shot #3, and I don't really want to pay $40 for it. I'm not disputing the obvious benefits of the vaccination, but a realistic analysis of my life suggests I won't be exposed to Hep B anytime soon.

So should I skip the 3rd shot? And if I decide to get it, would it be appropriate to send my old boss the bill with a note asking for remuneration?

I'd ask my clinic about the medical side of my decision, but I don't really trust them not to bilk me for my $40, necessity be damned.
posted by chudmonkey to Health & Fitness (12 answers total)
 
would it be appropriate to send my old boss the bill with a note asking for remuneration

You can try but there is no way they will pay for this. Won't cost you much to try, though.
posted by trinity8-director at 5:39 PM on February 29, 2008


There's no danger in skipping a vaccine booster (except that you might not achieve full immunity). Do you have anything in writing from your former employer that obligates them to pay for the entire vaccination including boosters? If not, I can't imagine why they'd pay for this. IANAD.
posted by hjo3 at 5:39 PM on February 29, 2008


I can't think of a reason they should pay for the last shot — it's not as if it will do you harm to quit the immunization series in the middle. As an analogy, let's say that the clinic had been paying for you to go to some sort of training ("How To Operate the Leechtech Bloodmaster 3000: A six-month training course") that you were in the middle of when you got sacked. I wouldn't think they'd have an obligation to pay for the remainder of the course.

FWIW, as I understand it you'll already have a bit of immunity from the first two shots. If you later decide you do need hep B immunity, you can tell your doctor you took part of a series previously, and maybe skip some shots the second time.

I'd probably go ahead and get the last shot anyway on my own dime, but that's just me.

Disclaimer: IANAD or a L.
posted by hattifattener at 5:48 PM on February 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well, for what it's worth, the CDC says that if only the third dose is delayed, it should be administered when convenient. "Convenient" sure makes it sound like the only downside of not getting your third injection is that you won't be completely immunized.

Me, I'd go ahead and shell out the $40 just to round-out my anti-hep B superpowers. Seeing as you're almost there anyway, it sure would suck to scrimp a couple of Jacksons only to later catch hepatitis. As others have said, you could try to get remuneration from your previous employer, but since completing the series appears to be purely optional, instead of a medical necessity, I doubt they'd look favorably on your suit.
posted by mumkin at 5:55 PM on February 29, 2008


Get #3, then get a titer. Some people don't develop a titer, then need to go through the series again . . . YMMV, IANAD.
posted by 6:1 at 5:58 PM on February 29, 2008


I wouldn't bother with the titer. If you ever work someplace that requires hep B immunity, they'll require a titer then and hopefully pay for it.

Hep B is moderately sexually transmitted, and endemic in some populations. I'm glad to be immune.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 6:10 PM on February 29, 2008


$40 is cheap. I went through the Hep A and B shots and from what I remember from the Blue Cross statement, the insurance company was billed well over $300. Get it and get the Hep A, too when you can afford it. I got them because I worked a job with a large constantly changing international population and the employer was sending numerous emails about chicken pox outbreaks or flu or you name it. I came to the conclusion that if I could get vaccinated for something, I'd spend the money. You just don't know when and if it might come in handy. I don't think it is at all appropriate to send your former employer a bill. If you can still get it for $40, then buck up and spring for it.
posted by 45moore45 at 7:14 PM on February 29, 2008


Get the shot, you don't want Hep B. You'll only be covered for about a year with the first two shots, ten years with the 3rd shot.
posted by sero_venientibus_ossa at 10:32 PM on February 29, 2008


I've read you're protected up to as much as 5 years with just the first two injections; the third will definitely extend it, but you could always have that later when money allows.
posted by Lleyam at 5:04 AM on March 1, 2008


There's a good chance a city/county health clinic will give you this shot for free. It may help if you've got records of the 1st 2 in the series so they know it's #3 you need.

I'd give that a shot, pun intended.
posted by altcountryman at 7:40 AM on March 1, 2008


I agree if you are hired somewhere they will probably draw the titer, but since it can be sexually transmitted, you should know if you are immune or not. As I stated, not everyone develops a titer and it's good to know if it "took".
posted by 6:1 at 10:02 AM on March 1, 2008


You have a much higher chance of getting Hep B than AIDS.

If there was an AIDS (HIV) vaccine, would you pay $40 for it?
posted by Ervin at 6:22 PM on March 1, 2008


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