Side Effects of Hib Vaccines

Hib Vaccine Side Effects

The most common Hib vaccine side effects are injection-site soreness and fever. The risk depends on the type of Hib vaccine and the dose number.

What are Hib vaccine names?

Hib vaccines are used to prevent infections with the bacteria Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib disease). The vaccines are not generally given to people older than 5 years old.

Hib vaccines are made by isolating Poly Ribosylribitol Phosphate (PRP) from the Hib capsule and conjugating it to a carrier.

Four different carries have been used: diphtheria toxoid (PRP-D), tetanus toxoid (PRP-T), a variant of diphtheria toxoid (HbOC), and part of the bacteria Neisseria meningitidis (PRP-OMP).

The only Hib vaccines used in the U.S. are PRP-OMP and PRP-T. The only available PRP-OMP vaccine is PedvaxHIB®. Two vaccines are combined with vaccines against other diseases.

The following is a list of Hib vaccines:

The following is a list of Hib vaccines that are no longer available in the United States:

  • Comvax® (Hib-HepB)
  • ProHIBit® (Hib)
  • HbOC® (Hib)
  • HibTITER (Hib)
  • OmniHIB (Hib)

How is the vaccine given?

Hib vaccines are given in a series of 3 or 4 shots in the thigh muscle or upper arm, depending on the type of vaccine and the age of the child. Each 0.5-mL injection is given at the ages of 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, and between 15-18 months of age.

Can the vaccine cause Hib?


What are common side effects?

The risk depends on the vaccine and dose number. Hib vaccines commonly cause warmth, redness, or swelling where the shot was given. Up to 1 in 20 children develop fever over 101ºF.

In general, common side effects include:

  • Crying
  • Drowsiness
  • Decreased activity or lethargy
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Fussiness
  • Irritability
  • Injection-site redness, pain, warmth, swelling
  • Loss of appetite
  • Restlessness
  • Vomiting

What are severe side effects?

A severe allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis is estimated to occur in about one in 1 million doses of the vaccine. The symptoms would appear within a few minutes or hours.

Some people get severe shoulder pain and have difficulty moving their arm. This is called Shoulder Injury Related to Vaccine Administration (SIRVA) and it is caused by the needle accidentally hitting the bursa, tendon, or ligaments in the shoulder.

What other side effects have been reported?

The risk depends on the vaccine, but the following severe side effects have been reported in people who received Hib vaccines. It is unknown if they were caused by the vaccine:

  • Allergic reaction
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Angioedema
  • Apnea (temporarily stop breathing) in premature infants
  • Brachial neuritis
  • Convulsions
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Erythema
  • Extensive limb swelling
  • Febrile seizures (high fever causing seizures)
  • Guillain-Barré Syndrome
  • Hypersensitivity reaction
  • Hypotonic-Hyporesponsive Episode (HHE)
  • Lymphadenopathy (enlarged lymph nodes)
  • Meningitis
  • Peripheral edema
  • Pruritus
  • Rash
  • Seizure
  • Sterile injection-site abscess
  • Urticaria

Where can I get more information?

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