The lengthy history of efforts to understand the pathogenesis and means of preventing and controlling both hepatitis A and B is noteworthy for many exceptional scientific achievements. Among these are the development of vaccines to prevent the spread of infection through induction of active immunity to hepatitis A virus (HAV) and hepatitis B virus (HBV). The first plasma-derived hepatitis B vaccine was licensed in the United States in 1981 and was replaced by recombinant hepatitis B vaccines in 1986 and 1989. Vaccines to prevent HAV infection were licensed in the United States in 1995 and 1996. Subsequently, combination vaccines that included both hepatitis A and B vaccine components, or the hepatitis B component in combination with other commonly administered vaccines, were licensed in the United States. Despite significant reductions in hepatitis-related morbidity and mortality that have resulted from widespread use of these vaccines, vaccine-preventable morbidity and mortality still occur. The purposes of this article are to review clinical trial and other experience with hepatitis A and B vaccines in healthy individuals as well as in those with chronic liver disease, infected with the human immunodeficiency virus, or requiring hemodialysis; describe the impact that these vaccines and national recommendations for vaccination have had on reducing the incidence of HAV and HBV infection; and recommend expansion of these recommendations to include universal vaccination of adults as a means of further reducing the burden of viral hepatitis.