Generic NameBrand Name
Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccineACT-HIB
tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, polio, Haemophilus influenzae type b, and hepatitis B combined vaccine (DTaP-IPV-Hib-hep B, called the 6-in-1)Infanrix Hexa
tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, polio, and Haemophilus influenzae type b combined vaccine (DTaP-IPV-Hib, called the 5-in-1)Pentacel

How It Works

Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccine is given to protect people from becoming infected with Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) bacteria. The vaccine contains small amounts of weakened bacteria and is given as a shot (injection). This helps your body make chemicals called antibodies that can then recognize and destroy Hib bacteria if you are exposed to it later.

Why It Is Used

Hib disease can cause meningitis, pneumonia, skin and bone infections, and other serious illnesses in young children. It usually causes problems for children younger than age 5. (It does not cause the flu.)

Hib vaccine is given to protect people from becoming infected with Hib bacteria.

Your child can get Hib disease by being around other children or adults who have the infection and do not know it. The germs spread from person to person. If the germs stay in your child's nose and throat, your child will probably not get sick. But sometimes the germs cause serious problems when they spread into your child's lungs or blood.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommends that all children should be immunized against Hib at 2, 4 and 6 months with a fourth dose at 18 months.footnote 1 The Hib vaccine may be combined with other vaccines so children only have to receive one shot (known as the 5-in-1, or 6-in-1 shots).

You can keep track of when your child received vaccines using the National Childhood Immunization Record (What is a PDF document?).

Children older than age 5 usually do not need Hib vaccine. Some older children and adults may need the shot if they also have other health problems, such as sickle cell disease, HIV, or AIDS. The Hib shot may also be needed if your child has had surgery to remove his or her spleen, a stem cell transplant, or is being treated for cancer.

How Well It Works

In the early 1990s, Hib was the most common cause of bacterial meningitis in Canada. Hib can be prevented by the Hib vaccine. Since the Hib vaccine became available in 1992, the number of cases in Canada has decreased by more than 70%.

Side Effects

Hib vaccine is a safe medicine. Side effects are usually mild and may include:

  • Redness, warmth, or swelling where the shot was given.
  • Fever.

Even though serious allergic reactions are rare with this medicine, call your doctor or public health unit right away if you or your child has trouble breathing, a high fever, or anything unusual after having the shot.

A child who has had a severe allergic reaction to a previous dose of Hib vaccine should not get another dose. Tell your doctor or nurse if you child has had a severe reaction to any vaccine or has severe allergies.

Children that are younger than 6 weeks old should not get the shot until they are older.

See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)



  1. National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) (2006). Recommended immunization. In Canadian Immunization Guide, 7th ed. Ottawa: Public Health Agency of Canada. Also available online: http://publications.gc.ca.


Adaptation Date: 7/13/2016

Adapted By: HealthLink BC

Adaptation Reviewed By: HealthLink BC

Adaptation Date: 7/13/2016

Adapted By: HealthLink BC

Adaptation Reviewed By: HealthLink BC