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FAQ

I’m getting tattooed, do I need a hepatitis B vaccine?

Page last updated 26 June 2018

All Australian children should be receiving hepatitis B vaccines as part of the National Immunisation Program (NIP). So, if you were born after 1996 you may already have been vaccinated.

If you are getting a tattoo in Australia, it is likely that the tattoo artist is following the standard practices for infection control. A few ways that you can ensure this includes making sure: 

  • Your tattoo artist is registered with the local council.
  • Your tattoo artist knows the industry Code of Practice.
  • The premises of your tattoo artist are clean and properly equipped with items for personal hygiene, cleaning and sterility, including a bench-top steriliser (steam autoclave).
  • Needles are single use only.
  • Sterilised equipment is opened just before use.
  • Pigments and dyes are in single use vessels only.
  • Your tattoo artist cleans and disinfects your skin before they start.
  • Your tattoo artist washes their hands and wears clean, disposable gloves while they work.

If you are getting a tattoo while overseas, hepatitis B and other blood-borne diseases (e.g. HIV and hepatitis C) may be more common in the country you are travelling to and the country may not have the same infection control practices as we have in Australia. Speak with your doctor at least 6-8 weeks prior to your departure to ensure you are protected from diseases while overseas. 

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Sources & Citations

  1. Australian Government, Department of Health, Australian Immunisation Handbook 10th Edition, 4.5 Hepatitis B. Available at http://www.immunise.health.gov.au/internet/immunise/publishing.nsf/Content/Handbook10-home~handbook10part4~handbook10-4-5 (accessed 5 April 2018).
  2. Australian Government, Department of Health, National Immunisation Programme Schedule. Available at https://beta.health.gov.au/topics/immunisation/immunisation-throughout-life/national-immunisation-program-schedule (accessed 5 April 2018).
  3. Victorian State Government, Better Health Channel, Hepatitis B. Available at https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/hepatitis-b (accessed 5 April 2018).
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Hepatitis B FAQs for the Public. Available at https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hbv/bfaq.htm (accessed 5 April 2018).
  5. Australian Government, Department of Health, Healthy Body Art. Available at http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/content/ohp-bbvs-bodyart2011 (accessed 6 April 2018).
  6. NSW Government, Department of Health, Tattooing and other body art - hygiene standards. Available at http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/environment/factsheets/Pages/tattooing.aspx (accessed 6 April 2018).

SPANZ.SAPAS.18.04.0173a - Date of preparation May 2018

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