Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccine
Your child can get a free booster vaccination for haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) disease when they’re 15 months old.
What it protects you from
Haemophilus influenzae type b (hib)
Hib is a bacteria that causes life-threatening illnesses in young children. It’s spread through the air by breathing, coughing and sneezing.
It most often leads to:
- meningitis – an infection of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord
- epiglottitis – an infection and swelling in the throat that makes it difficult to breathe.
Although doctors can treat Hib with antibiotics, some children still die. Others risk permanent brain and spinal cord damage.
The disease has almost disappeared since the vaccine programme was introduced in the 1990s. Before the vaccine, 1 in every 350 children had the disease before they were 5 years old.
When it’s given
The Hib booster vaccine is free for children aged 15 months old.
This booster is the fourth vaccination given for Hib disease as part of the National Immunisation Schedule. The other Hib vaccinations are given at 6 weeks, 3 months, and 5 months.
This booster dose extends your child’s protection while they are most vulnerable to Hib disease.
Which vaccine is used
The Hib booster vaccine we use when your tamariki is 15 months old is Hiberix®.
The Hib vaccine is given at 6 weeks, 3 months and 15 months is part of a different combination vaccine called INFANRIX-HEXA. This also protects against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio and hepatitis B.
Both vaccines are given as an injection, normally into a muscle in your child’s arm or leg.
If your child has missed an immunisation, it’s OK. Tamariki can catch up on most immunisations. For advice, talk to your doctor, nurse, or trusted healthcare professional.
Side effects and reactions
Like most medicines, vaccines can sometimes cause reactions. These are usually mild, and not everyone will get them.
Mild reactions are normal and show that your child’s immune system is responding to the vaccine.
If your tamariki is going to have any reactions, they normally happen in the first few days after getting vaccinated. The vaccine itself is gone from your child's body within a few hours or days.
The most common reaction to an immunisation includes:
- a slight fever
- pain or swelling where the needle went in.
Other common reactions
Other common reactions to the hib vaccine usually happen within 6 to 24 hours. They include:
- crying, being upset, and hard to settle
- loss of appetite
- vomiting or diarrhoea.
Serious side effects are rare. If you have any questions or concerns, talk to your doctor or nurse, or call Healthline for free on 0800 611 116.
Call 111 if you’re worried your child is having a serious reaction.
Serious allergic reactions are extremely rare. Only about 1 in 1 million people will experience this.
Your vaccinator is well-trained and knows what to look for and can treat an allergic reaction quickly if it happens.
Serious allergic reactions normally happen within the first few minutes of vaccination. This is why your tamariki need to wait for up to 20 minutes after immunisation.