October 8th, 2010
I received this question from someone who works in a body art studio:
Hi Elayne, do you advise for or against Hepatitis B vaccinations for piercers and artists? if so would you advise getting A+B or just B?
Thanks for your time. S.
Well I think it is wise to get the Hep B vaccine, given that there is potential for needlesticks in our work and Hep B is a bloodborne pathogen.
Also, in the US there is a law involved: wherever there is potential for exposure to bloodborne pathogens, an employer has to offer the vaccine to his/her employees and pay for it--and allow them to get it during business hours (OSHA ruling). And the employer must document it. If the vaccine is declined, a declination from must be filed with the employee records.
Since Hep A is not transmitted through blood, it isn't as necessary for a piercer.
Have you taken a bloodborne pathogens class? There's lots of good information in them. I recommend the industry specific class given by David Vidra and associates through Health Educators. In fact, I just took it recently, and it was fantastic.
Hope this is helpful,