Immunise Australia Program
Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing
Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing. Immunise Australia Program. Information Line 1800 671 811
Immunise Australia Program. Information Line 1800 671 811

Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib)

Information about Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib) immunisation funded under the Immunise Australia Program.

Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib) is a bacterium commonly found in the upper respiratory tract (lungs and windpipe) which can cause infection in young children less than 2 years of age.

Hib infection can cause meningitis (inflammation of the membranes around the brain and spinal cord), epiglottitis (inflammation of a part of the larynx), arthritis and pneumonia (lung infection). It can take between 2 and 4 days after infection for symptoms to show.

Babies with meningitis may have neck stiffness, sensitivity to lights, drowsiness, poor feeding and high fever. Babies with epiglottitis may have breathing difficulties and be dribbling and anxious. Both meningitis and epiglottitis can develop quickly and if left untreated, can rapidly cause death.

Hib is a vaccine preventable disease. Hib vaccination is recommended as part of routine childhood immunisation. It is listed on the National Immunisation Program (NIP) Schedule and funded for children under the Immunise Australia Program. To receive Hib immunisation, visit your local doctor or immunisation provider. It is important to note that the vaccine is provided at no cost, however a consultation fee may apply.

Several doses of Hib vaccine are required to protect a child against Hib. Doses are given at 2, 4 and 6 months of age, with a booster dose at 12 month. The doses given at 2, 4 and 6 month of age are given in combination with DTPa, polio and hep B. The 12 month old dose from 1 July 2013 will be given in combination with meningococcal C.

For further information on routine childhood immunisation, refer to the Understanding Childhood Immunisation booklet.

Clinical advice for immunisation providers regarding the use of Menitorix in delivering catch-up vaccinations

From 1 July 2013, the combined Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) and meningococcal serogroup C (MenC) vaccine, Menitorix, was added to the National Immunisation Program (NIP) schedule at 12 months of age. This combination vaccine replaces the single dose of monovalent meningococcal C conjugate vaccine (MenCCV) and booster dose of monovalent Hib vaccine previously scheduled at 12 months of age, which means one less injection is required at this schedule point. However, due to the use of the combination vaccine, issues may arise when planning catch-up vaccinations for either MenC or Hib. ATAGI recommendations for planning catch-up vaccination schedules using the Hib-MenCCV combination vaccine, Menitorix, are provided in the full clinical advice. Examples of acceptable approaches to a catch-up schedule for one catch-up scenario are provided in Table 1.

For information about immunisation in your area contact your State or Territory Health Department. For technical information or information about vaccines, refer to the Hib section of the Australian Immunisation Handbook 10th Edition 2013.

Page last modified: 10 February, 2014