1. What is Hib disease?
Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) disease is a serious disease caused by a bacteria. It usually strikes children under 5 years old.
Your child can get Hib disease by being around other children or adults who may have the bacteria and not know it. The germs spread from person to person. If the germs stay in the child's nose and throat, the child probably will not get sick. But sometimes the germs spread into the lungs or the bloodstream, and then Hib can cause serious problems.
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 brain and spinal cord coverings, which can lead to lasting brain damage and deafness. Hib disease can also cause:
- severe swelling in the throat, making it hard to breathe
- infections of the blood, joints, bones, and covering of the heart
Before Hib vaccine, about 20,000 children in the United States under 5 years old got severe Hib disease each year and nearly 1,000 people died.
Hib vaccine can prevent Hib disease.
Many more children would get Hib disease if we stopped vaccinating.
2. Who should get Hib vaccine and when?
Children should get Hib vaccine at:
- 2 months of age
- 4 months of age
- 6 months of age*
- 12-15 months of age
* 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.