HiB Vaccine for Babies-Importance and Schedule

5 min read

Haemophilus influenzae or HiB is a type of bacteria. In this article, we will know how it affects the body of infants, how babies are at risk, and why taking the HiB vaccine is beneficial. We will also look at the vaccination schedule, its guidelines, and the care you need to take for HiB.

Hib Vaccine

What is HiB?

Haemophilus Influenzae, a bacteria, causes different types of infection in the body. These infections can be anything from mild ear or throat infections to very severe ones like meningitis or blood infections. According to doctors, HiB infections are ‘invasive’ and affect those body parts that are free of germs, like spinal fluids or the bloodstream. They can get serious, and need extensive treatment in a hospital. Invasive diseases may also lead to death.

The age group at most risk of getting HiB is children under five years. HiB can be deadly for babies. It was a dominant cause of bacterial meningitis among children less than five years old in the US.

Meningities disease in babies and vaccine

How does HiB Affect the Body?

The most common disease that HiB causes is meningitis. The bacteria affects the tissues of the spinal cord and the brain. The symptoms are:

  • Headache
  • Stiff neck
  • High fever
  • Unusual sensitivity towards light
  • Poor diet and vomiting

There are other diseases as well that HiB can cause. They are throat swelling, skin infections, bone infections, pneumonia, infection in the joints, etc.

What is a HiB Vaccine?

HiB vaccine is a vaccine for Haemophilus Influenzae bacterial infection. It contains dead HiB bacteria that, when injected into the body of a baby, helps the body create antibodies for HiB. The vaccine is specific to type B bacteria, and it is a preventive method for the HiB infection among babies.

In India, the pentavalent vaccine given to newborns is included in the HiB vaccine.

baby getting intramuscular vaccine

HiB Vaccination Schedule and Dosage

HiB vaccination for babies in India requires three doses. This is the schedule:

First Dose

The baby gets the first dose when it is six weeks old. 0.5 ml of the vaccine is injected via intramuscular injection on the left thigh.

Second Dose

When the baby turns ten weeks old, you can go for the second dose. It is also an intramuscular injection on the left thigh. The dose is 0.5 ml.

Third Dose

The third dose is given when the baby is fourteen weeks old. The dosage is the same, 0.5 ml, via intramuscular injection on the left thigh.

Babies under six weeks of age should not be given the vaccine. It is also recommended by the Indian Association of Paediatrics to give a single booster dose at 12-18 months of age, but this has not been listed under the government’s universal immunization schedule.

Why is the HiB Vaccine Recommended?

HiB, as we discussed earlier, is a dangerous bacteria. And it is responsible for fatal diseases and infections. Some of them can be nasty and deadly. Doctors and pediatrics recommend the HiB vaccine as it prevents diseases caused by the HiB bacteria. Some of the diseases caused by HiB are:

  • Pneumonia
  • Meningitis
  • Epiglottis
  • Infection in the bloodstream
  • Cellulitis(skin infection)
  • Arthritis(Infection in the Joins)

Although HiB infections are rare, we recommend getting vaccinated.

Baby taking Injection

Risks and Side Effects of HiB Vaccine

The vaccines are thoroughly tested for safety as most of the vaccines are meant for babies. So, they are safe. But common side effects are inevitable. For the HiB vaccine, they are:

  • Fever
  • Irritability
  • Drowsiness
  • Swelling and pain at the site of injection
  • Discomfort
  • Diarrhea

There is a risk of a serious reaction to the vaccine. But that is very rare. Even if there are any allergic reactions to the vaccine, they occur almost immediately after the baby gets the vaccine. So, you should contact the doctor straightaway.

When Should you Delay or Avoid HiB Vaccination for your Baby?

Although the HiB vaccine is recommended for all babies, you can choose to delay or avoid it. If your baby has had a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine after the first dose, you should not get the other two doses. Not getting the vaccine is better for the baby in this situation.

You can also delay the vaccination if your baby is sick. Getting a vaccine during illness is not recommended. In such a case, you should wait till the baby fully recovers.

mom putting compress on forehead of sick baby

How to Care for the Baby after HiB Immunisation?

HiB immunization comes with its side effects. They make your baby uncomfortable and irritable. Here is what you can do to comfort the baby:

  • You can give your baby more liquid foods, like juices. Loss of appetite is normal after vaccination.
  • Cold wipes on the forehead can be a great idea to reduce fever.
  • To reduce the redness and pain at the site of injection, you can use a cold sponge.
  • Pain relievers for babies can also provide relief to your baby.

Watch your baby closely after it gets the HiB vaccine. It may get restless and need your attention and care.

When to Call a Doctor?

It is important to observe your baby after it gets the vaccine. There may be some mild side effects that go away after some days. However, the baby may need comforting from your side to relieve the pain and the irritability because of the vaccine. But, if the side effects of the vaccine stay for more than a few days, you should seek help from a doctor, especially if there is an allergic reaction or rashes.

We hope this information was helpful in some way or the other. The HiB vaccine is highly recommended for the safety of your baby.

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