Is Your Child Protected against Hib Disease?
Vaccines WorkBefore Hib vaccines, there were about 20,000 cases of invasive Hib disease each year in the United States. Today, with ongoing vaccination, every year there are fewer than 55 cases of invasive Hib disease.
The Hib vaccine prevents Hib disease, which can cause serious illness in infants and children. Babies receive 2 or 3 doses of Hib vaccine (depending on vaccine type) by age 6 months and then receive one booster shot at 12 through 15 months of age. Despite the success of Hib vaccine, parents need to remember the bacteria are still out there. Hib bacteria can be spread to infants and children who are not protected by Hib vaccine. Hib is short for Haemophilus influenzae type b.
What Is Hib Disease?
Hib bacteria can cause invasive disease. “Invasive disease” means that germs invade parts of the body that are normally free from germs, like blood. When this happens, disease is usually very severe, causing hospitalization or even death.
Hib bacteria can cause life-threatening infections, such as:
- Meningitis (inflammation of the protective membranes covering 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. However, Hib bacteria are more commonly spread by people who have the bacteria in their noses and throats but who are not ill (have no symptoms of being sick).
How Common Is Hib Disease?
Before Hib vaccines, there were about 20,000 cases of invasive Hib disease each year in the United States. Today, with ongoing vaccination, every year there are fewer than 55 cases of invasive Hib disease. 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.
How Can I Protect My Child from Hib Disease?
Hib disease can be prevented by Hib vaccine. All children younger than 5 years of age should be vaccinated with Hib vaccine. Vaccinating infants protects them at a time when they are most vulnerable to disease. There are two types of Hib vaccine for infants. 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. All children need one booster shot at 12 through 15 months of age. Check your child’s vaccination records to see if he has received all doses of Hib vaccine. If unsure, call your child's doctor, nurse, or clinic.
Some brands of vaccine contain Hib along with other vaccines in a single shot. Hib vaccine can safely be combined with other vaccines to make these combination vaccines. Combination vaccines may be used for any or all doses given at 2, 4, and 6 months of age. Combination vaccines can also be used for the booster dose. If combination vaccines are the only vaccines available to your child's healthcare provider, they should be used to complete the Hib series, even if this results in your child receiving additional doses of another vaccine. If your child misses a dose or gets behind schedule, the next dose should be given as soon as possible. There is no need to start over.
Call your child's healthcare provider if you have questions and to make sure your child has received all scheduled doses of Hib vaccine.
- Learn more about Hib Vaccination
- Learn more about Haemophilus influenzae disease
- Fact sheet describes symptoms of Hib disease as well as benefits and risks of vaccination [PDF - 400 KB]
- See the parent-friendly version of the Recommended Immunizations for Children from Birth Through 6 Years Old [PDF - 722 KB]
- Hib Vaccine: What You Need to Know (Vaccine Information Statement) (English [PDF - 65 KB] or other languages
- For vaccine and immunization information, call 1-800-232-4636 (1-800-CDC-INFO) or contact CDC-INFO through a web form.
- ¿Está protegido su niño contra la enfermedad por Hib?
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