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Hib vaccine prevents serious infections caused by a type of bacteria called Haemophilus influenzae type b such as meningitis (an infection of the covering of the brain and spinal cord), pneumonia (lung infection), and epiglottitis (a severe throat infection).
Hib vaccine is recommended for all children under five years old in the U.S., and it is usually given to infants starting at two months old. The Hib vaccine can be combined with other vaccines. Some brands of vaccine contain Hib along with other vaccines in a single shot.
Children should get a Hib vaccine at:
* Depending on what brand of Hib vaccine is used, your child might not need the dose at 6 months of age. Your doctor or nurse will tell you if this dose is needed.
If you miss a dose or get behind schedule, get the next dose as soon as you can. There is no need to start over. Hib vaccine may be given at the same time as other vaccines.
Children over five years old usually do not need Hib vaccine. But some older children or adults with special health conditions should get it. These conditions include sickle cell disease, HIV/AIDS, removal of the spleen, bone marrow transplant, or cancer treatment with drugs. Ask your doctor or nurse for details.
Hib bacteria (Haemophilus influenzae type b) can cause severe infections such as meningitis and is spread through contact with mucus or droplets from the nose and throat of an infected person, often by coughing or sneezing. Most of the time, Hib is spread by people who have the bacteria in their noses and throats but who are not ill (asymptomatic).
Meningitis is just one of the invasive diseases that can be caused by Hib. Hib can also cause life-threatening infections that make it difficult to breathe, including epiglottitis (infection in the throat) and pneumonia (infection in the lungs). Other forms of invasive Hib disease include blood, bone, or joint infections. Hib meningitis is very serious, and causes death in one out of 20 children, and permanent brain damage in 10-30 percent of the survivors.
Hib disease can cause:
Hib can be serious in children under age one, but there is little risk of getting the disease after age five.
All children younger than five years of age should be vaccinated with Hib vaccine, because infants and very young children are most susceptible. There are two types of Hib vaccine for infants. With one vaccine, your child gets doses at two, four, and six months of age; with the other vaccine, your child gets doses at two and four months of age. All children need one booster shot at 12 through 15 months of age. You should check vaccination records to see if your child has received all doses of Hib vaccine. If unsure, you should call your child's doctor, nurse, or clinic.
Most people over five years old do not need Hib vaccine. However, you should discuss getting the vaccine with your physician if you have sickle cell anemia, or if your immune system is weakened because of:
Microscopic view of Hib (Haemophilis Influenzae type b).