Hib (H. influenzae Type B) Vaccine
Who Should Get the Vaccine?
The CDC recommends that the vaccine be given to children under age 5. Ideally, the first dose should be given at age 2 months.
Because Hib disease is very rare in older children and because most adults have antibodies for Hib in their system, the vaccine is not recommended for anyone ages 5 or older, unless they are at increased risk for Hib infection. Older children and adults at increased risk include:
- Anyone who has had his spleen removed and anyone who has sickle cell disease, leukemia, or HIV
- Anyone whose immune system has been suppressed due to a condition or by a treatment, such as for cancer
How Many Doses of the Hib Vaccine Are Needed?
Different vaccines have been licensed for use in the U.S. The vaccines are equally effective and one can be substituted for the other if the original vaccine the child received is not available. The number of doses that are required for full immunity -- either three or four -- depends on which vaccine is being used. For adults and older children who are at increased risk and have never been vaccinated, at least one dose of the vaccine is needed for protection.
When Should My Child Be Vaccinated?
The CDC recommends that an infant receive the first dose at age 2 months, the second dose at age 4 months, and the third dose, depending on which vaccine is being used, at age 6 months. Both vaccines require a booster shot sometime between ages 12 and 15 months.
No child younger than 6 weeks should receive the vaccine. Giving a child the vaccine during the first six weeks of life could cause a reaction that would prevent the body from responding to the later doses of the Hib vaccine. Most newborns have a natural immunity to Hib that was passed to them by their mother. This wears off eventually.
What Happens if My Child Misses a Dose of Hib Vaccine?
If your child misses a dose, he or she should be given a catch-up shot at the next doctor visit. There is no need to start the series over again.