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Hib Vaccination: What Everyone Should Know

One of the Recommended Vaccines by Disease

Key Facts

Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) disease is most common in babies and children younger than 5 years old. CDC recommends Hib vaccination for all children younger than 5 years old in the United States.

 

Who Should Get a Hib Vaccine?

CDC recommends Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccination for all children younger than 5 years old. Older children and adults usually do not need a Hib vaccine. Below is more information about when Hib vaccines are recommended, as well as information on who should not get Hib vaccines.

Talk to your or your child’s healthcare professional about what is best for your specific situation.

Learn about different types and brands of Hib vaccines at CDC’s What Are the Types of Hib Vaccines ?

Young Children

Children younger than 5 years old need a primary series of two or three doses, depending on the brand used, and a booster dose of a Hib vaccine. Doses are recommended at the following ages:

  • 2 months
  • 4 months
  • 6 months (if needed; depends on brand)
  • 12 through 15 months

Older Children and Adults

Older children and adults usually do not need a Hib vaccine. However, some people who are fully vaccinated are at increased risk for invasive Hib disease and need additional doses. Unimmunized older children and adults with certain medical conditions should also get a Hib vaccine. Talk to your or your child’s healthcare professional about what is best for your specific situation.

 

Who Should Not Get It?

Because of age or health conditions, some people should not get certain vaccines or should wait before getting them. Read the guidelines below and ask your or your child’s healthcare professional for more information.

A Hib vaccine should not be given to babies younger than 6 weeks old. In addition, tell the person who is giving you or your child a Hib vaccine if:

You or your child have had a life-threatening allergic reaction or have a severe allergy.

  • Anyone who has ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction after a previous dose of a Hib vaccine, or has a severe allergy to any part of this vaccine, should not get a Hib vaccine. Your or your child’s healthcare professional can tell you about each vaccine’s ingredients.

You or your child are not feeling well.

  • People who have a mild illness, such as a cold, can probably get the vaccine. People who are moderately or severely ill should probably wait until they recover. Your or your child’s healthcare professional can advise you.

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What Types of Hib Vaccine Are There?

There are 4 Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccines licensed for use in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), 1 of which is combined with vaccines for other diseases. Your child will get either 2 or 3 primary doses, depending on which vaccine is used, and a booster dose. The first primary dose can be given as early as 6 weeks. Any of the Hib-only vaccines can also be used for older children and adults that need Hib vaccination.

Hib-only Vaccines

  • PedvaxHIB® [11 pages]: It is given in a two-dose primary series plus one booster dose to children who are 2 through 15 months old.
  • ActHIB® [19 pages]: It is given in a three-dose primary series plus one booster dose to children who are 2 through 15 months old.
  • Hiberix® [15 pages]: It is given in a three-dose primary series plus one booster dose to children who are 2 months through 15 months old.

 

Combination Vaccines

A combination vaccine is when two or more vaccines are given in a single shot in order to decrease the number of shots given.

  • Pentacel® [36 pages]: It is given as a three-dose primary series plus one booster dose to children who are 2 through 18 months old to protect against Hib disease, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), and polio.

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How Well Do Hib Vaccines Work?

Summary

Vaccines that help protect against Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) disease work well, but cannot prevent all cases.

  • Studies show that nearly all (between 93 and 100 out of 100) children are protected against invasive Hib disease after receiving a 2- or 3-dose primary series of Hib vaccine.
  • After receiving the primary series, antibody levels decrease and a booster dose is needed for children between 12 and 15 months old to maintain protection during early childhood.

 

In Depth

Hib disease was once a leading cause of bacterial meningitis (swelling of the tissue covering the brain and spinal cord) among U.S. children younger than 5 years old. Every year about 20,000 children younger than five years old got invasive Hib disease and about 1,000 children died. More than half of the children who developed invasive Hib disease were younger than one year old. Due to the use of Hib vaccines, by 2014, fewer than 50 cases of Hib disease occurred each year in children younger than five years in the United States. Most cases of Hib disease today are in children who did not get a Hib vaccine or who have not been fully vaccinated.

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What Are the Possible Side Effects?

Most people who get a Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccine do not have any problems with it. With any medicine, including vaccines, there is a chance of side effects. These are usually mild and go away on their own within a few days, but serious reactions are also possible.

 

Mild Problems

Mild problems following Hib vaccination are uncommon. If they occur, they usually begin soon after the shot is given. They can last up to 2 or 3 days, and include:

  • Reactions where the shot was given
    • Redness
    • Warmth
    • Swelling
  • Fever

 

Problems that Could Happen After Getting Any Injected Vaccine

  • People sometimes faint after a medical procedure, including vaccination. Sitting or lying down for about 15 minutes can help prevent fainting, and injuries caused by a fall. Tell the healthcare professional if you or your child is feeling dizzy, has vision changes, or has ringing in the ears.
  • Some people get severe pain in the shoulder and have difficulty moving the arm where a shot was given. This happens very rarely.
  • Any medicine can cause a severe allergic reaction. Such reactions from a vaccine are very rare, estimated at about 1 in a million doses, and would happen within a few minutes to a few hours after the vaccination.
  • As with any medicine, there is a very remote chance of a vaccine causing a serious injury or death.

For more information on possible side effects from vaccination, visit CDC’s Possible Side-effects from Vaccines webpage.

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Where Can I Find Hib Vaccine?

Your healthcare professional is usually the best place to receive recommended vaccines for you or your child.

Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccine is part of the routine childhood immunization schedule. Therefore, the vaccine is regularly available at pediatric and family practice offices, as well as community health clinics and public health departments for children and teens. If your healthcare professional does not have the Hib vaccine for adults, ask for a referral.

Vaccines may also be available at pharmacies, workplaces, community health clinics, health departments, or other community locations such as schools and religious centers. Federally funded health centers can also provide services if you don’t have a regular source of health care. Locate one near you. You can also contact your state health department to learn more about where to get vaccines in your community.

When receiving any vaccine, ask the provider to record the vaccine in the state or local registry, if available. This helps healthcare professionals at future encounters know what vaccines you or your child have already received.

How Do I Pay for Hib Vaccine?

There are several ways Hib vaccine may be paid for:

Private Health Insurance

Most private health insurance plans cover this vaccine. Check with your insurance provider for details on whether there is any cost to you and for a list of in-network vaccine providers.

Vaccines for Children Program

The Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program provides vaccines to children whose parents or guardians may not be able to afford them. A child is eligible for the program if they are younger than 19 years of age and meet one of the following requirements:

  • Medicaid-eligible
  • Uninsured
  • American Indian or Alaska Native
  • Underinsured (have health insurance that does not cover vaccines or does not cover certain vaccines)

If your child is VFC-eligible, ask if your healthcare professional is a VFC provider. For help in finding a VFC provider near you, contact your state or local health department’s VFC Program Coordinator, or call CDC at 1-800-CDC-INFOimage of phone (232-4636).

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