Hib (Haemophilus Influenzae Type B) Vaccine


Hib disease is a serious illness that usually strikes children under five years old. It is caused by bacteria. This bacteria can spread through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. A Hib infection can lead to meningitis, a swelling of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord. It can be deadly. Hib disease can be prevented with the Hib vaccine.

How it Works

The vaccine is made from extracts of the Hib bacteria. When it is injected, the body creates antibodies to fight the bacteria. Even after the bacteria is destroyed, this protection remains.

How it is Given

The vaccine is given as a series of three or four injections, depending on the specific type of vaccine used. The first dose is commonly given when a child is two months old. The second is given at four months. A third dose may be given at six months, and the final injection is given between 12 and 15 months. The Hib vaccine may be given as part of a "combination" vaccine, which will also protect against other diseases.

Who Should Get the Vaccine

The Hib vaccine is recommended for children younger than five years old. Children older than five usually do not need it. But some older children and adults with certain health conditions may benefit from the vaccine. It may be recommended for people who have sickle cell disease, and for people who have HIV. It may be helpful for people who have had spleen removal surgery, or who have had a bone marrow transplant. And it may be helpful for people who have had certain cancer treatments.

Who Should Avoid or Postpone Vaccination

The vaccine should not be given to children younger than six weeks old. Any person who has a severe reaction to the first injection should not get other doses. And a person who is sick may need to wait to get the vaccine.