Haemophilus influenzae type b bacteria were the leading cause of meningitis in children younger than 5 years old until the Hib vaccine became available.
The Hib vaccine is given by injection at ages:
- 2 months
- 4 months
- 6 months (however, some of the Hib vaccines do not require a dose at 6 months)
- a booster dose at 12-15 months
Kids ages 15 months or older who are receiving the vaccine for the first time only need one dose. The vaccine is not routinely recommended for kids older than age 5, unless they have a weakened immune system due to conditions like cancer, HIV infection, or asplenia.
Why the Vaccine Is Recommended
The vaccine provides long-term protection from Haemophilus influenzae type b. Those immunized have protection against Hib meningitis; pneumonia; pericarditis (an infection of the membrane covering the heart); and infections of the blood, bones, and joints caused by the bacteria.
Minor problems, such as redness, swelling, or tenderness where the shot was given, may occur. There is a very small chance of an allergic reaction with any vaccine.
When to Delay or Avoid Immunization
The vaccine is not recommended if your child:
- is currently sick, although simple colds or other minor illnesses should not prevent immunization
- had a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to a previous Hib vaccine
Caring for Your Child After Immunization
The vaccine may cause mild soreness and redness in the area where the shot was given. Depending on your child's age, pain and fever may be treated with acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Check with your doctor to see if you can give either medication and to find out the appropriate dose.
When to Call the Doctor
- Call if you aren't sure whether the vaccine should be postponed or avoided.
- Call if moderate or serious adverse reactions appear after the Hib injection.
Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date reviewed: February 2013
|National Immunization Program This website has information about immunizations. Call: (800) 232-2522|
|Immunization Action Coalition This organization is a source of childhood, adolescent, and adult immunization information as well as hepatitis B educational materials.|
|CDC Immunization: Pre-teens and Adolescents CDC site provides materials in English and Spanish for parents, teens, pre-teens, and health care providers about vaccines and the diseases they prevent.|
|The History of Vaccines The History of Vaccines is an informational, educational website created by The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, the oldest professional society in the United States.|
|Your Child's Immunizations Immunizations protect your child from potentially fatal diseases. Find out what vaccines your child needs to grow up healthy.|
|Meningitis Meningitis (inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord) is treatable, but can be serious. So it's important to know the symptoms and get prompt diagnosis and treatment.|
|What Can I Do to Ease My Child's Fear of Shots? Find out what the experts have to say.|
|Immunization Schedule Which vaccines does your child need to receive and when? Use this immunization schedule as a handy reference.|
|How Can I Comfort My Baby During Shots? Find out what the experts have to say.|
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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