Haemophilus influenzae type b bacteria (Hib) were the leading cause of
meningitis in children younger
than 5 years old until the Hib vaccine became available. It also used to be a
common cause of infections in the ears, lungs, blood, skin, and joints in children.
Hib Immunization Schedule
The Hib vaccine is given by injection at ages:
6 months (however, some of the Hib vaccines do not require a
dose at 6 months)
a booster dose at 12–15 months
Kids ages 15 months or older who are receiving the vaccine for the first time only
need one dose.
Children ages 12 months to 59 months (almost 5 years old) may need additional doses
if their immune systems are weakened due to things like asplenia (when the spleen
is missing or not working properly), HIV
or radiation treatment, or a
stem cell transplant. The vaccine is not routinely recommended for kids older than
5 unless they have a condition that weakens the immune system and have never been
Why Is the Hib Vaccine Recommended?
The vaccine provides long-term protection from Haemophilus influenzae
type b. Those who are immunized have protection against Hib meningitis; pneumonia;
pericarditis (an infection of the membrane covering the heart); and infections of
the blood, bones, and joints caused by the bacteria.
Possible Risks of Hib Immunization
Minor problems — such as redness, swelling, or tenderness where the shot
was given — can happen. There is a very small chance of an allergic reaction
with any vaccine.
When to Delay or Avoid Hib Immunization
The vaccine is not recommended if your child:
is currently sick, although simple colds or other minor illnesses should not
had a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis)
to a previous Hib vaccine
Caring for Your Child After Hib Immunization
The vaccine may cause mild soreness and redness in the area where the shot was
given. For pain and fever, check with your doctor to see if you can give either acetaminophenoribuprofen, and to find out the
When Should I Call the Doctor?
Call if you aren't sure whether the vaccine should be postponed or avoided.
Call if moderate or serious adverse reactions appear after the Hib injection.