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Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) Vaccine: What You Need to Know
Why get vaccinated?
Hib vaccine can prevent Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) disease.
Haemophilus influenzae type b can cause many different kinds of infections. These infections usually affect children under 5 years of age but can also affect adults with certain medical conditions. Hib bacteria can cause mild illness, such as ear infections or bronchitis, or they can cause severe illness, such as infections of the blood. Severe Hib infection, also called "invasive Hib disease," requires treatment in a hospital and can sometimes result in death.
Before 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 lining of the brain and spinal cord. It can lead to brain damage and deafness.
Hib infection can also cause:
- Severe swelling in the throat, making it hard to breathe
- Infections of the blood, joints, bones, and covering of the heart
Hib vaccine is usually given in 3 or 4 doses (depending on brand).
Infants will usually get their first dose of Hib vaccine at 2 months of age and will usually complete the series at 12-15 months of age.
Children between 12 months and 5 years of age who have not previously been completely vaccinated against Hib may need 1 or more doses of Hib vaccine.
Children over 5 years old and adults usually do not receive Hib vaccine, but it might be recommended for older children or adults whose spleen is damaged or has been removed, including people with sickle cell disease, before surgery to remove the spleen, or following a bone marrow transplant. Hib vaccine may also be recommended for people 5 through 18 years old with HIV.
Hib vaccine may be given as a stand-alone vaccine, or as part of a combination vaccine (a type of vaccine that combines more than one vaccine together into one shot).
Hib vaccine may be given at the same time as other vaccines.
Talk with your health care provider
Tell your vaccination provider if the person getting the vaccine:
- Has had an allergic reaction after a previous dose of Hib vaccine, or has any severe, life-threatening allergies
In some cases, your health care provider may decide to postpone Hib vaccination until a future visit.
People with minor illnesses, such as a cold, may be vaccinated. People who are moderately or severely ill should usually wait until they recover before getting Hib vaccine.
Your health care provider can give you more information.
Risks of a vaccine reaction
- Redness, warmth, and swelling where the shot is given and fever can happen after Hib vaccination.
People sometimes faint after medical procedures, including vaccination. Tell your provider if you feel dizzy or have vision changes or ringing in the ears.
As with any medicine, there is a very remote chance of a vaccine causing a severe allergic reaction, other serious injury, or death.
What if there is a serious problem?
An allergic reaction could occur after the vaccinated person leaves the clinic. If you see signs of a severe allergic reaction (hives, swelling of the face and throat, difficulty breathing, a fast heartbeat, dizziness, or weakness), call 9-1-1 and get the person to the nearest hospital.
For other signs that concern you, call your health care provider.
Adverse reactions should be reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). Your health care provider will usually file this report, or you can do it yourself. Visit the VAERS website at www.vaers.hhs.gov or call 1-800-822-7967. VAERS is only for reporting reactions, and VAERS staff members do not give medical advice.
The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program
The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) is a federal program that was created to compensate people who may have been injured by certain vaccines. Claims regarding alleged injury or death due to vaccination have a time limit for filing, which may be as short as two years. Visit the VICP website at www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation or call 1-800-338-2382 to learn about the program and about filing a claim.
How can I learn more?
- Ask your health care provider.
- Call your local or state health department.
- Visit the website of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for vaccine package inserts and additional information at www.fda.gov/vaccines-blood-biologics/vaccines.
- Contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- Call 1-800-232-4636 (1-800-CDC-INFO) or
- Visit CDC's website at www.cdc.gov/vaccines
Vaccine Information Statement
42 U.S.C. § 300aa-26
Department of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Many vaccine information statements are available in Spanish and other languages. See www.immunize.org/vis
Hojas de información sobre vacunas están disponibles en español y en muchos otros idiomas. Visite www.immunize.org/vis
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