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Hib Quick Facts

Quick Facts About Haemophilus Influena Type B (Hib)

Quick Facts:

Haemophilus Influenza Type B (Hib)

  • Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib) is a bacterial infection that can cause severe illnesses in children, including meningitis, epiglottitis, pneumonia, arthritis, and cellulitis.
  • Meningitis caused by Hib is an infection of the membranes covering the brain.
  • Hib is spread through person-to-person transmission, mostly through the air. It’s often found in the respiratory tracts of adults with no symptoms or adverse effects. Hib has to get into the bloodstream for it to cause meningitis or severe infections of the bones and joints.
  • Hib is mostly a disease of young children under the age of 5 years old. Before the vaccine was introduced in the U.S., children who became sick from Hib were usually under 2 years old, and mostly between 6 and 7 months old.
  • In general, Hib disease is not considered very contagious. Before the vaccine most children acquired natural immunity to Hib by the time they were 5 or 6 years old.

 Hib Vaccine

  • There are five different Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccines available in the U.S., including three for infants as young as 6 weeks old; The five vaccines are: ActHIB; Hiberix; PedvaxHIB; Pentacel and Menhibrix. A sixth vaccine, Comvax (combined with Hepatitis B recombinant) is an approved vaccine but production was discontinued by Merck in December 2014.
  • As of 2014, the CDC recommends infants receive Hib vaccine between 2 to 6 months of age with an additional booster dose between 12 and 15 months of age.
  • Using the MedAlerts search engine, as of July 31, 2018, there have been more than 38,748 reports of hib vaccine reactions, hospitalizations, injuries and deaths following hib vaccinations made to the federal Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS), including 2,626 related deaths, 15,276 hospitalizations, and 1,540 related disabilities. Over 93% of those serious HIB vaccine-related adverse events occurred  in children three years old and under. Of these hib-vaccine related deaths reported to VAERS, 13% of the deaths occurred in children under three years of age. Of these reported deaths, 2,006 occurred in infants under the age of 6 months. Mild side effects such as redness, warmth, or swelling where the shot was given have been reported in connection with administration of Hib vaccines. Fever over 101 degrees F may occur, and can last two to three days. Systemic reactions include irritability and lethargy. However, more severe reactions have also been reported in both clinical trials with all of the vaccines as well as to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS). Serious reactions included deaths and such things as anaphylactic reaction, asthma, pneumonia, convulsions, noninfectious encephalitis, acute pancreatitis, peripheral neuropathy, Guillain-Barre syndrome, sepsis, seizures, and cerebral edema.
  • As of November 28, 2017, there had been 141 claims filed in the federal Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) for injuries and deaths following HIB vaccination, including 31 deaths and 110 serious injuries.
  • Health officials admit that it’s difficult to know from clinical trial results exactly what kind adverse reactions to look for after your child gets a Hib vaccine because children in the clinical trials were given other vaccines at the same time they were given the experimental Hib vaccine.  Administration of more than one vaccine at a time also makes it difficult to determine which vaccines might have been responsible for certain adverse reactions reported in the clinical studies and to VAERS.

Food & Drug Administration (FDA)

Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

Vaccine Reaction Symptoms & Ingredients

Our Ask 8, If You Vaccinate webpage contains vaccine reaction symptoms and more.

Search for Vaccine Reactions 

NVIC hosts MedAlerts, a powerful VAERS database search engine. MedAlerts examines symptoms, reactions, vaccines, dates, places, and more.

Reporting a Vaccine Reaction

Since 1982 the NVIC has operated a Vaccine Reaction Registry, which has served as a watchdog on VAERS. Reporting vaccine reactions to VAERS is the law. If your doctor will not report a reaction, you have the right to report a suspected vaccine reaction to VAERS.VAERS is the law. If your doctor will not report a reaction, you have the right to report a suspected vaccine reaction to VAERS. 

IMPORTANT NOTE:NVIC encourages you to become fully informed about Haemophilus B and the Hib vaccine by reading all sections in the Table of Contents , which contain many links and resources such as the manufacturer product information inserts, and to speak with one or more trusted health care professionals before making a vaccination decision for yourself or your child. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice.

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