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Immunization

Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccine

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​​​​​​​​​​Immunization protects you from disease.
​​Get protected, get immunized.

  • Vaccines make your immune system stronger. They build antibodies to help prevent diseases.
  • Immunization is safe. It's much safer to get immunized than to get this disease.​

What is the Hib vaccine?

The Hib vaccine protects against Haemophilus influenzae type b bacteria.

Who should have the Hib vaccine?

This vaccine is given to children under age 5 years who have been immunized for diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, and polio and only need the Hib vaccine.

Older children and adults may also get this vaccine if they have a high risk of severe Hib disease because of health problems. This may include those with no spleen, a weak immune system, or those who have a cochlear implant.

How many doses do I need?

The number of doses you need depends on your age and why you’re having the vaccine.

You usually get 3 doses (the primary series) of the Hib vaccine as a baby in a combined vaccine that protects against other diseases. This is followed by an extra (booster) dose at age 18 months.

If you have certain health problems you may need more doses after age 5 years.

Are there other vaccines that protect against Hib?

DTaP-IPV-Hib protects against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), polio and Hib. This vaccine is given to children born before March 1, 2018, who are under age 7 years as part of their primary series. Children also get this vaccine as a booster dose when they are age 18 months.

DTaP-IPV-Hib-HB is a vaccine that babies get if they are born on or after March 1, 2018. It protects against all of the same diseases as DTaP-IPV-Hib as well as hepatitis B.

How well does the vaccine work?

After the primary series and a booster dose, protection is over 95%. It may be less if your immune system is weak.

Where can I get the Hib vaccine?

You can get the vaccine at a public health office in your area.

Are there side effects from the Hib vaccine?

There can be side effects from the Hib vaccine, but they tend to be mild and go away in a few days. Side effects may include:

  • redness, swelling, or feeling sore where you had the needle
  • crying, feeling tired, or getting upset easily
  • fever
  • not feeling hungry or not wanting to eat (poor appetite)
  • vomiting or loose stool (diarrhea)

It’s important to stay at the clinic for 15 minutes after your vaccine. Some people may have a rare but serious allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. If anaphylaxis happens, you will get medicine to treat the symptoms.

It’s rare to have a serious side effect. Call Health Link at 811 to report any serious or unusual side effects.

How can I manage side effects?

  • To help with soreness and swelling, put a cool, wet cloth over the area where you had the needle.
  • There is medicine to help with fever or pain. Check with your doctor or pharmacist if you’re not sure what medicine or dosage to take. Follow the directions on the package.
  • Children under the age of 18 years should not take aspirin because it can cause serious health problems.
  • Some people with health problems, such as a weak immune system, must call their doctor if they get a fever. If you’ve been told to do this, call your doctor even if you think the fever is from the vaccine.

Who should not have Hib vaccine?

You may not be able to get the vaccine if you:

  • have an allergy to parts of the vaccine
  • had a severe or unusual side effect after this vaccine or one like it

Check with your doctor or a public health nurse before you get the vaccine.

You can still have the vaccine if you have a mild illness, such as a cold or fever. Always tell your healthcare provider if you have allergies or if you have had a side effect from a vaccine in the past.

Facts about Haemophilus influenzae type b

What is Haemophilus influenzae type b?
Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) is a bacteria that can cause a serious infection of the fluid and lining that cover the brain and spinal cord (called meningitis), blood, and other parts of the body.

It can lead to lifelong disabilities and death.

Who’s most at risk?
You have a higher risk of a serious infection if you:

  • are age 4 years or younger
  • have a weak immune system
  • have no spleen or a spleen that isn’t working properly
  • have a cochlear implant
  • How does it spread?
    Hib is spread by coughing or sneezing. Some people don’t have symptoms, but can still spread the disease.

    More information

    Current as of: August 11, 2020

    Author: Provincial Immunization Program, Alberta Health Services