Haemophilus Influenza Type b (Hib) Vaccine Safety
Hib disease, preventable by vaccination, is a serious disease caused by a bacteria that usually strikes children under 5.
For the most up-to-date information on Hib disease and the Hib vaccine, please visit www.cdc.gov/vaccines.
Brief Background on Hib Disease
Hib disease is a serious disease caused by a bacteria that usually strikes children under 5 years old. Your child can get Hib disease by being around other children or adults who may have the bacteria and not know it. The germs spread from person to person. Sometimes the germs spread into the lungs or bloodstream, and then Hib can cause serious problems.
Before the Hib vaccine, Hib disease was the leading cause of bacterial meningitis among children under 5 years old in the United States. Meningitis is an infection of the brain and spinal cord coverings, which can lead to lasting brain damage and deafness.
Hib can also cause:
- Infections of the blood, joints, bones, and covering of the heart
Before Hib vaccine was introduced in the early 1990's, about 20,000 children in the United States under 5 years old got severe Hib disease each year and nearly 1,000 people died.
Hib vaccine can prevent Hib disease. Many more children would get Hib disease if we stopped vaccinating.
Hib Vaccine Safety Information
A vaccine, like any medicine, is capable of causing serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions. The Hib vaccine has a long track record of being very safe and effective.
Most people who get Hib vaccine do not have any problem with it.
Mild problems that may occur include:
- Redness, warmth, or swelling where the shot was given (up to 1 out of 4 children).
- Fever of over 101° F (up to 1 out of 20 children).
If these problems happen, they usually start within a day of vaccination. They may last 2 to 3 days.
What you should look for
For any symptom more serious than the ones described above, promptly consult your doctor/healthcare provider.
Look for any unusual conditions, such as a serious allergic reaction, high fever, or unusual behavior. Serious allergic reactions are extremely rare with any vaccine. If one were to occur, it would most likely be within a few minutes to a few hours after the shot. Signs can include difficulty breathing, hoarseness or wheezing, hives, paleness, weakness, a fast heartbeat, or dizziness. If a high fever or seizure were to occur, it would usually be within a week after the shot.
What you should do
If you think that your child is having a problem following Hib vaccination, call a doctor or get your child to a doctor right away.
Tell your doctor what happened, the date and time it happened, and when the vaccination was given. Ask your doctor, nurse, or health department to file a Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) form. Or you can fill this report through the VAERS web site at www.vaers.hhs.gov, or by calling 1-800-822-7967. VAERS does not provide medical advice.
Related Scientific Articles
CDC. Continued Shortage of Haemophilus influenzae Type b (Hib) Conjugate Vaccines and Potential Implications for Hib Surveillance -- United States, 2008. MMWR Vol 57; No 46; 1252 11/21/2008
CDC. Interim Recommendations for the Use of Haemophilus influenzae Type b (Hib) Conjugate Vaccines Related to the Recall of Certain Lots of Hib-Containing Vaccines (PedvaxHIB® and Comvax®). MMWR Vol. 56; No 50;1318 12/21/2007