Haemophilus Influenzae Type B Vaccine

(Hib Vaccine)

What Is Hib Disease?

Haemophilus influenzae type B, or Hib, is a bacteria that can cause infections. It usually occurs in children under 5 years old. Hib can lead to:

  • Meningitis
  • Pneumonia
  • Swelling in the throat
  • Other types of infections
  • Death

People can carry Hib bacteria and not know it. These germs can spread from person to person. They usually spread through droplets from an infected person. Sickness will probably not occur when the germs stay in the nose and throat. They can cause serious problems when they spread into the lungs or the bloodstream.

Before the vaccine, severe Hib disease affected about 20,000 United States children.

Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Drowsiness
  • Vomiting
  • Stiff neck
  • Other symptoms, depending on the part of the body affected

What Is the Hib Vaccine?

The Hib vaccine is made from inactive parts of the bacteria. It is injected into the muscle.

Who Should Be Vaccinated and When?

In general, children should get doses at:

  • 2 months
  • 4 months
  • 6 months
  • 12-15 months

In some cases, your child may only need 3 doses. This depends on which brand the doctor uses.

If a dose is missed, talk to the doctor. There are different catch-up schedules depending on the brand and your child's age.

This vaccine is not routinely recommended for children aged 5 years old. However, it may be given if your child was not vaccinated before and your child has other factors. Examples include:

What Are the Risks Associated With the Hib Vaccine?

Like any vaccine, the Hib vaccine can cause serious problems, such as a severe allergic reaction. Most people do not have any problems. Some people have redness, warmth, or swelling near the injection site, as well as a fever.

Acetaminophen is sometimes given to reduce pain and fever that may occur after getting a vaccine. In infants, the medication may weaken the vaccine. Discuss the risks and benefits of taking acetaminophen with the doctor.

Who Should Not Be Vaccinated?

The following people should not get the vaccine:

  • Children younger than 6 weeks old
  • People who have ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to a previous dose of Hib vaccine
  • People who are moderately to severely ill may need to wait until they have recovered

What Other Ways Can Hib Disease Be Prevented Besides Vaccination?

Antibiotics may be given to certain infants and young children who have not been vaccinated and have been exposed to the disease.

What Happens in the Event of an Outbreak?

In the event of an outbreak, public health officials will determine who is at risk and vaccinate people.

American Academy of Pediatrics
Vaccines & Immunizations
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Immunization schedules. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/index.html. Updated February 6, 2017. Accessed August 14, 2017.
Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) VIS. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/vis/vis-statements/hib.html. Updated October 18, 2016. Accessed August 14, 2017.
Vaccine information statements. Immunization Action Coalition website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed August 14, 2017.
Vaccine safety and the importance of immunization. New York State Department of Health website. Available at: https://www.health.ny.gov/prevention/immunization. Updated April 2016. Accessed August 14, 2017.
10/30/2009 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com : Prymula R, Siegrist C, Chlibek R, et al. Effect of prophylactic paracetamol administration at time of vaccination on febrile reactions and antibody responses in children: Two open-label, randomised controlled trials. Lancet. 2009;374(9698):1339.
Last reviewed September 2018 by David L. Horn, MD, FACP
Last Updated: 9/29/2014

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