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Hib - vaccine

Definition

The Hib vaccine (immunization) prevents childhood infections, which can cause severe and potentially deady illnesses that affect the brain, lungs, and bones or joints.

Alternative Names

type b (Hib) vaccine; Vaccine - Hib; conjugate vaccine

Information

WHO SHOULD GET THIS VACCINE

The Hib vaccine is one of the recommended childhood immunizations. Generally, states require proof that a child has received the vaccine before entering into day care or preschool.

The Hib vaccine does not work well in children younger than 6 weeks old.

Infants and toddlers should receive four total doses of the Hib vaccine. One dose should be given at each of the following ages:

  • 2 months
  • 4 months
  • 6 months
  • 12-15 months

Children over 5 years old and adults do not need to receive immunization for type b unless they have certain medical conditions, including HIV, sickle cell disease, and some others. Ask your doctor if this applies to your child.

BENEFITS

Hib vaccine has been a great public health success story. Most infants who receive three doses of this vaccine have long-term protection against the illnesses caused by type b bacteria. These illnesses include meningitis, pneumonia, and infections of the blood, bones, and joints.

Such serious infections are most common in children 6 to 12 months old, but may also occur in older children. Hib meningitis was once a common serious illness that caused brain damage and death. But since the use of this vaccine, the disease is rare.

RISKS AND SIDE EFFECTS

Most infants who receive the Hib vaccine will have no side effects. Others may have minor problems such as soreness and redness where the shot was given or a mild fever. Serious problems associated with receiving the immunization are rare and are mainly due to allergic reactions to parts of the vaccine. There is no evidence linking the Hib vaccine to autism.

Delay or do NOT give the vaccine if:

  • Your child is under 6 weeks old
  • Your child has an illness more serious than a cold
  • Severe allergic reaction or anaphylaxis occurs after an injection of the Hib vaccine (no further type b immunization should be given to the child)

Watch for and know how to treat minor side effects, such as injection site tenderness or a low-grade fever .

Call your health care provider if:

  • You are not sure if the vaccine should be delayed, avoided, or given to an infant
  • Moderate or serious side effects appear after the vaccine has been given
  • You have any other questions or concerns

References

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Recommended adult immunization schedule -- United States, 2012. 2012;61(4).

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Recommended immunization schedules for persons aged 0 through 18 years -- United States, 2012, 2012;61(05):1-4.

Encyclopedia content is provided as information only and not intended to replace the advice and instruction from your personal physician.