Hib Quick Facts
Haemophilus Influenzae Type B (Hib)
- Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) is a bacterial infection that can cause severe illnesses in children, including meningitis, epiglottitis, pneumonia, arthritis, and cellulitis;1
- Hib meningitis, an infection of the membranes covering the brain and one of the most serious complications of Hib, may occur following an upper respiratory illness. Infection can spread from the sinuses and lungs into the bloodstream and to the brain causing meningitis;2
- Hib is spread through person-to-person transmission, mostly through the air. It is often found in the respiratory tracts of adults with no noted symptoms or adverse effects.3 Hib must enter into the bloodstream for it to cause meningitis or other forms of invasive disease;4
- Hib infection more frequently occurs in infants and children under the age of 5. Other high-risk populations can include Alaska Natives, American Indians, adults 65 years of age and older, and persons with certain medical conditions, including immunosuppression;5
- In general, the transmission of Hib is considered to be limited and when it occurs, it usually affects only close contacts such as household members.6 Prior to the introduction of the Hib vaccine, most children acquired natural immunity to Hib by the time they were 5 or 6 years old.7
- There are currently four different Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccines available for use in the United States. These four vaccines are: ActHIB; Hiberix; PedvaxHIB; and Pentacel (Hib vaccine combined with diphtheria and tetanus toxoids, acellular pertussis adsorbed, and inactivated poliovirus).8 The CDC recommends infants receive Hib vaccine at 2, 4, and 6 months of age with an additional booster dose between 12 and 15 months of age. Hib vaccine is also recommended by the CDC for use in older children, adolescents and adults with certain medical conditions,9 however, no Hib vaccines are FDA approved for use in persons over five years of age.10 On December 21st, 2018, the FDA approved VAXELIS, a 6 in 1 combination vaccine containing diphtheria and tetanus toxoids, acellular pertussis adsorbed, inactivated poliovirus, hepatitis B recombinant, and Hib conjugate vaccine.11 VAXELIS is expected to be available for use in the United States in 2020,12 however, at this time the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice (ACIP) has not made any recommendations regarding the use of VAXELIS.
- Mild side effects such as redness, warmth, or swelling where the shot was given have been reported in connection with administration of Hib vaccines.13 Systemic reactions, such as fever and irritability can also occur.14 Severe reactions involving Hib vaccination reported during pre-licensing clinical trials and currently continue to be reported to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) include deaths, anaphylactic reaction, asthma, pneumonia, convulsions, noninfectious encephalitis, acute pancreatitis, peripheral neuropathy, Guillain-Barre syndrome, sepsis, seizures, and cerebral edema. 15 16 17 18
- All infants and children who participated in Hib vaccine pre-licensing clinical trials also received other vaccines in addition to the Hib vaccine. As a result, it is not possible to determine the specific adverse reaction to monitor for following Hib vaccination. 19 20 21 22 The administration of multiple vaccines also makes it difficult to determine the specific vaccine that might have triggered the reactions reported in both clinical studies and to VAERS.
- Using the MedAlerts search engine, as of March 31, 2019, there have been more than 80,024 reports of Hib vaccine reactions, hospitalizations, injuries and deaths following Hib vaccinations made to the federal Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS), including 2,682 related deaths, 16,228 hospitalizations, and 1,604 related disabilities. Over 88% of HIB vaccine-related adverse events occurred in children three years old and under. Of these Hib-vaccine related deaths reported to VAERS, nearly 94% of the deaths occurred in children under three years of age. Of these reported deaths, 2,035 occurred in infants under the age of 6 months.
- As of May 1, 2019, there had been 159 claims filed in the federal Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) for injuries and deaths following HIB vaccination, including 33 deaths and 126 serious injuries.
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.
IMPORTANT NOTE: NVIC encourages you to become fully informed about Haemophilus Influenzae Type B (Hib) 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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1 CDC Types of Haemophilus influenzae Infections. Feb. 13, 2018
2 MedlinePlus Meningitis - H. influenzae Jan. 7, 2019
3 CDC Haemophilus influenzae Disease (Including Hib) - Causes, How It Spreads, and People at Increased Risk Feb. 13, 2018
4 CDC Haemophilus influenzae type b – Pathogenesis Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases (The Pink Book). 13th ed. 2015.
5 CDC Haemophilus influenzae Disease (Including Hib) - Causes, How It Spreads, and People at Increased Risk Feb. 13, 2018
6 CDC Haemophilus influenzae type b – Epidemiology Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases (The Pink Book). 13th ed. 2015.
7 CDC Haemophilus influenzae type b – Pathogenesis Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases (The Pink Book). 13th ed. 2015.
8 FDA Vaccines Licensed for Use in the United States Apr. 26, 2019
9 CDC Prevention and Control of Haemophilus influenzae Type b Disease: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) MMWR Feb. 28, 2014; 63(RR01);1-14
10 FDA Vaccines Licensed for Use in the United States Apr. 26, 2019
11 FDA December 21, 2018 Approval Letter- VAXELIS Dec. 21, 2018
12 Raines, K FDA Approves 6 in 1 Combo Vaccine for Babies The Vaccine Reaction Jan. 3, 2019
13 CDC Haemophilus Influenzae Type b (Hib) VIS. Apr. 2, 2015
14 CDC Haemophilus influenzae type b – Adverse Reactions Following Vaccination Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases (The Pink Book). 13th ed. 2015.
15 FDA ActHIB Product Insert Dec. 20, 2018
16 FDA Hiberix Product Insert Apr. 30, 2018
17 FDA Haemophilus B Conjugate Vaccine (Meningococcal Protein Conjugate) Product Insert Apr. 27, 2011
18 FDA Pentacel Product Insert Mar. 16, 2017
19 FDA ActHIB Product Insert Dec. 20, 2018
20 FDA Hiberix Product Insert Apr. 30, 2018
21 FDA Pentacel Product Insert Mar. 16, 2017
22 FDA Haemophilus B Conjugate Vaccine (Meningococcal Protein Conjugate) Product Insert Apr. 27, 2011