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Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccine

The Hib vaccine prevents Hib disease. This illness can be severe and life-threatening. The illness:

  • Is caused by the bacterium called Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib for short)
  • Can affect the ears, brain, lungs, bones or joints, or blood
  • Commonly affects children 6 to 12 months old, but can occur in older children and adults who have certain medical conditions

Alternative Names

Immunization - Hib; Vaccine - Haemophilus influenzae type b conjugate

Information

Hib vaccine is made from smaller pieces of the whole Hib bacterium. After getting the vaccine, the body learns to attack Hib bacteria if the person is exposed to it. As a result, the person will probably not get sick with infections caused by the bacteria.

WHO SHOULD GET THIS VACCINE

Hib vaccine is one of the recommended childhood vaccines. Many states require proof that a child has received the vaccine before starting day care or preschool.

Two vaccine brands are available. Depending on which brand is given, infants and toddlers should get three or four doses (shots) total. One dose should be received at each of the following ages:

  • 2 months
  • 4 months
  • 6 months (depending on vaccine brand) 
  • 12 to 15 months

Hib can be given as a shot by itself. Or it can be combined with other vaccines and given as a single injection. Your health care provider can tell you if the combined vaccine is right for your child.

Children older than 5 and adults do not need to get Hib vaccine unless they have certain medical conditions. These conditions include HIV, sickle cell disease, among others. Your health care provider can tell you if this applies to you or your child.

WHO SHOULD NOT GET THIS VACCINE

  • Infants younger than 6 weeks old.
  • Children who received a dose of the vaccine and developed a serious allergy from it.
  • Children who are ill with something more severe than a cold or have a fever should have their vaccination rescheduled.

RISKS AND SIDE EFFECTS

Most infants who get Hib vaccine have no problems from it. Others may have mild problems such as soreness and redness where the shot was given or a low fever. Serious problems from the vaccine are rare and are mainly due to allergic reactions to parts of the vaccine.

There is no proof that links Hib vaccine to the development of autism.

No vaccine works all of the time. It is possible, though unlikely, to get infections caused by Hib even after receiving all doses (shots) of the Hib vaccine.

CALL YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER IF:

  • You are not sure if the child should get Hib vaccine
  • Serious symptoms appear after the vaccine has been given
  • You have questions or concerns about the vaccine

References

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) Recommended Immunization Schedules for Persons Aged 0 Through 18 Years and Adults Aged 19 Years and Older - United States, 2013. MMWR. 2013;62(Suppl1):1-19.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vaccine safety and adverse events. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/safety/default.htm. Accessed April 19, 2013.

DeStefano F, Price CS, Weintraub ES. Increasing exposure to antibody-stimulating proteins and polysaccharides in vaccines is not associated with risk of autism. J Pediatr. 2013; DOI10.1016/j.peds.2013.02.001.

Institute of Medicine. Immunization Safety Review Committee. Imunization Safety Review: Vaccines and Autism. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; 2004.

Orenstein WA, Atkinson WL. Immunization. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 17.

Updated: 2/21/2013

Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.


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