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Hib (H. influenzae Type B) Vaccine


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 the age of 2 months, the second dose at the age of 4 months, and the third dose, depending on which vaccine is being used, at the age of 6 months. Both vaccines require a booster shot sometime between the ages of 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.

Once a Child Has Received the Hib Vaccine, Can He or She Still Get Meningitis?

The child will be protected against getting Hib meningitis if he or she receives the Hib vaccine. But there are other germs that can cause meningitis, so it’s still possible to develop meningitis at some point. The risk, though, is far less than it would be without the Hib vaccine.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Roy Benaroch, MD on September 17, 2014
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