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H. Influenzae type b (HIB) Immunizations

H. Influenzae type b (HIB) is a serious disease caused by bacteria that afflicts children younger than five years old. Before there was a vaccine, HIB was the main cause of bacterial meningitis among children under five years old. Meningitis is an infection of the brain and spinal coverings, which can lead to brain damage and deafness. HIB can also cause:

  • pneumonia
  • severe swelling in the throat, making it hard to breathe
  • infections of the blood, joints, bones, and heart covering
  • death

Who Should Get the HIB Vaccine and When?

Children should receive the HIB vaccine at:

  • two months of age
  • four months of age
  • six months of age
  • 12 to 15 months of age

Depending on the brand of HIB vaccine that your doctor uses, your child might not need the dose at six months. Your doctor or nurse will tell you if this dose is needed.

Children over five years old usually do not need HIB vaccine. But some older children with special health conditions should get it. These conditions include sickle cell anemia, HIV/AIDS, bone morrow transplant, or cancer treatment. Talk with your doctor or nurse for details.

Who Shouldn't Receive the HIB Vaccine?

People who have ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to a previous dose of HIB should not get another dose.

Children less than six weeks old should not receive the HIB vaccine.

People who are moderately or severely ill at the time the shot is scheduled should wait until they feel better.

What are the Risks from the HIB Vaccine?

Like any medicine, a vaccine is capable of causing serious problems such as severe allergic reactions. The risk of HIB vaccine causing serious harm, or death, is extremely small.

Mild Problems:

  • Redness, warmth or swelling where the shot was given

Moderate Problems:

  • These are rare, but include high fever, serious allergic reactions or behavior changes.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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