Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)

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Did you know? 

For every 20 children who get sick with Hib, 1 may die.

Farin's story

Marijean shares her story about how her son, Farin, died of Hib meningitis.  

What is the Hib vaccine?

The Hib vaccine protects against infection from the bacteria Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib). Despite its name, this disease is not the same as influenza (the flu).

The Hib vaccine is usually combined with other vaccines so that you or your child can get protection against several diseases with fewer shots. 

Who should get the Hib vaccine? 

The Hib vaccine is recommended for all children younger than 5 years of age. Some older children and adults with certain medical conditions should also get the vaccine. There are many different vaccines used to prevent Hib. 

Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Hepatitis B, Polio, and Haemophilus influenzae type b (DTaP-HB-IPV-Hib) Vaccine 

  • This vaccine is given as a series of 3 doses to infants at 2, 4, and 6 months of age. 

Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Polio, Haemophilus influenzae type b (DTaP-IPV-Hib) Vaccine

  • This vaccine is given to infants as a booster dose at 18 months of age after completing a three-dose primary series of DTaP-HB-IPV-Hib.

 Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) Vaccine

  • This vaccine is given to some people 5 years of age and older with certain medical conditions. 

What are the benefits of the Hib vaccine?

The Hib vaccine is the best way to protect against Hib infection, a serious disease that sometimes causes death. 

What are the side effects?

Vaccines are very safe. It is much safer to get the vaccine than it is to get Hib. 

Many people have no side effects from these vaccines. For those that do, side effects are usually mild and last 1 to 2 days (see a list of common side effects for each vaccine below). Serious side effects are very rare.

It is important to stay in the clinic for 15 minutes after getting any vaccine because there is a very rare possibility, between one in 100,000 and one in a million, of a life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. This may include hives, difficulty breathing, or swelling of the throat, tongue or lips. Should this reaction occur, your health care provider is prepared to treat it. Emergency treatment includes injection of epinephrine (adrenaline) and transfer by ambulance to the nearest emergency department. If symptoms develop after you leave the clinic, call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.

It is important to always report serious or unexpected reactions to your immunizing health care provider.

DTaP-HB-IPV-Hib Vaccine

Common side effects may include soreness, redness, and swelling where the vaccine was given. Some children may have a fever or experience crankiness, restlessness, vomiting, diarrhea, persistent crying, or a loss of appetite. These reactions are mild and usually last 1 to 2 days.

DTaP-IPV-Hib Vaccine

Common side effects may include soreness, redness, and swelling where the vaccine was given. Some children may have a fever, or experience crankiness, drowsiness, loss of appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea. These reactions are mild and generally last 1 to 2 days. Large areas of redness and swelling may be present but these generally do not interfere with normal activity.

Hib Vaccine 

Common side effects may include soreness, swelling, or redness where the vaccine was given. Some children may have a fever or experience drowsiness, fussiness, persistent crying, and loss of appetite.

Where can I learn more?

  • Click on the vaccine name above to read the HealthLink BC File.
  • Talk to your immunizing health care provider. 

About Hib 

  • Hib is a bacteria that most commonly infects children under 5 years of age.
  • Hib infection is spread by coughing, sneezing, or by having close face-to-face contact.
  • It can cause serious and life-threatening infections, including meningitis, an infection of the lining that covers the brain, and septicemia, an infection of the blood.
  • In the early 1990s, Hib was the most common cause of bacterial meningitis in children younger than 5 years of age in Canada. Hib is now rare in Canada because of routine childhood vaccination programs. 
Date last updated: 
Tuesday, May 19, 2020
Date last reviewed: 
Monday, Apr 06, 2020