Protect Your Child against Hib Disease
Make sure your child gets all doses of Hib vaccine for best protection against Hib disease. Hib bacteria can cause serious diseases like meningitis (an infection of the fluid and lining around the brain and spinal cord).
How Can I Protect My Child from Hib Disease?
Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) can be prevented by Hib vaccines. All children younger than 5 years of age should be vaccinated with Hib vaccine. Vaccinating babies protects them at a time when they have the highest risk of getting the disease and suffering the most dangerous symptoms.
There are two types of Hib vaccine for babies. With one vaccine, your child gets doses at 2, 4, and 6 months of age; with the other vaccine, your child gets doses at 2 and 4 months of age. With both vaccines, children need one booster shot at 12 through 15 months of age.
Call your child's healthcare provider if you have questions and to make sure your child has received all scheduled doses of Hib vaccine.
Hib Vaccine Works
Before Hib vaccines, there were about 20,000 cases of invasive Hib disease each year in the United States. "Invasive disease" means that germs invade parts of the body, like blood or spinal fluid, that are normally free from germs. When this happens, disease is usually very serious, needs treatment in a hospital, and sometimes causes death. Today, with ongoing vaccination, there are fewer than 50 cases of invasive Hib disease each year.
Despite the success of Hib vaccine, parents need to remember these bacteria are still out there. Hib bacteria can be spread to babies and children who are not protected by Hib vaccine. If vaccination levels get too low in the United States, Hib disease could make a comeback. Read a story about a family affected by Hib disease.
Risks of Hib Vaccine
Hib vaccines are safe, but side effects can occur. Most side effects are mild or moderate, meaning they do not affect daily activities. They also get better on their own in a few days. Mild problems, such as redness, warmth, swelling or pain where the shot is given or fever, may occur.
All children should get the full series of Hib shots as infants and need one booster shot at 12 through 15 months.
What Is Hib Disease?
Hib bacteria can cause invasive disease, including life-threatening infections such as:
- Meningitis (infection of the fluid and lining around the brain and spinal cord)
- Epiglottitis (swelling in the throat that makes it hard to breathe)
- Pneumonia (infection in the lungs)
Other forms of invasive Hib disease include blood, bone, and joint infections.
How Is Hib Disease Spread?
Hib bacteria spread through contact with mucus or droplets from the nose and throat of an infected person, often by coughing or sneezing. Hib bacteria are also commonly spread by people who have the bacteria in their noses and throats but who are not ill.
- Learn more about Hib Vaccination
- Learn more about Hib disease
- Read this fact sheet about symptoms of Hib disease, as well as benefits and risks of vaccination[400 KB]
- See the parent-friendly version of the Recommended Immunizations for Children from Birth Through 6 Years Old [722 KB]
- View the Hib Vaccine Information Statement (English) or other languages)
- Call 1-800-232-4636 (1-800-CDC-INFO) or contact CDC-INFO through a web form for more information on Hib disease and Hib vaccines
- ¿Está protegido su niño contra la enfermedad por Hib?
- Page last reviewed: March 18, 2015
- Page last updated: March 18, 2015
- Content source:
- National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Division of Bacterial Diseases
- Page maintained by: Office of the Associate Director for Communication, Digital Media Branch, Division of Public Affairs