Select any of the links below to jump to a specific topic.

Hib Overview

What is Hib?

Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) is a contagious disease caused by bacteria called H. influenzae. Symptoms may include fever, tiredness, and nausea. The disease is spread by coughing and sneezing. Read more about Hib and how it affects people on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.

What are the symptoms of Hib?

Symptoms of Hib vary depending on which part of the body is infected.

  • High fever
  • Severe headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Vomiting

Hib can cause severe illness, including:

  • Pneumonia.
  • Severe swelling in the throat, making it hard to breathe.
  • Infections of the blood, joints, bones, and covering of the heart.
  • Death.

Who is at risk?

Children under five years old are more at risk for severe complications from Hib. People older than five years with certain medical conditions might be at higher risk and need vaccination, including those who have:

  • Sickle cell anemia.
  • A weakened immune system because of HIV/AIDS or other diseases that affect the immune system.
  • Drug treatment, such as long-term steroids.
  • Cancer treatment with X-rays or drugs.
  • A bone marrow or organ transplant.
  • No spleen or a damaged spleen.

If you have one of these conditions you should discuss getting the vaccine with your health care provider.

Limit the spread of Hib

The best way to protect yourself from Hib is if your doctor recommends vaccination. Additionally, healthy habits such as frequent hand washing and not being around people who are sick will help prevent disease.

Hib Vaccine

When do people get Hib vaccine?

People who have never been vaccinated should get Hib vaccine if it is recommended by their doctor or health professional.

In children, one dose of vaccine should be given at the following ages:

  • 2 months of age
  • 4 months of age
  • 6 months of age
  • 12 to 15 months of age

Depending on what brand of Hib vaccine is used, your child might not need a dose at 6 months. Your doctor or nurse will tell you if this dose is needed.

Babies younger than 6 weeks old should not get the Hib vaccine.

Most adults do not need Hib vaccination. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends two types of older children and adults get vaccinated. This includes:

What are the side effects of Hib vaccine?

Most people experience minor or no side effects. The most common side effects of Hib vaccine include:

  • Fever.
  • Redness, warmth, or swelling at the site of vaccination.

This vaccine is continually monitored for safety. The benefits and side effects of this vaccine outweigh the risk of getting Hib.

Why is Hib vaccine important?

Before the vaccine was available, Hib disease was the most common cause of meningitis in kids under five. Hib vaccine is at least 93% effective at preventing disease. Vaccinated people who do get sick from the disease have milder symptoms.

Getting vaccinated protects yourself, your family, and others in the community. This protects people who can’t get vaccinated, such as those with weakened immune systems, infants, and pregnant people.

Before vaccination was available, this disease made 20,000 people sick a year. This vaccine has reduced disease by 99%.

Even with fewer cases, vaccines are still important because the United States still has outbreaks of disease in unvaccinated populations.

Vaccine Information Statement and Resources

The Vaccine Information Statement (VIS) is given to parents/guardians at the time of vaccination. It explains the benefits and risks of the specific vaccination.

Read the current Hib VIS from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Additional resources for the public

Additional resources for health care providers

Childhood Vaccine Program

The Washington State Childhood Vaccination Program provides vaccines to children 18 years of age and younger at no cost. Hib vaccine is included in this program.

View participating health care providers on the Department of Health’s Vaccine Provider Map.

Hib Vaccine Requirement for Schools

Hib vaccine is required for child care and preschool entry in the state of Washington. Learn more about school and child care immunization requirements by visiting the family friendly school immunization requirements web page.