ActHIB Vaccine : Uses, Side Effects, Interactions & More
Why get vaccinated?
Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) disease is a serious disease caused by bacteria. It usually affects children under 5 years old. It can also affect adults with certain medical conditions.
Your child can get Hib disease from being around other children or adults who may have the bacteria and not know it. Germs are passed from person to person. If the germs remain in the child’s nose and throat, the child will probably not get sick. But sometimes the germs spread to the lungs or bloodstream, and then Hib can cause serious problems. This is called invasive Hib disease.
Before the ActHIB Vaccine, Hib disease was the leading cause of bacterial meningitis in children younger than 5 years old in the United States. Meningitis is an infection of the lining of the brain and spinal cord. It can cause brain damage and deafness. Hib disease can also cause:
- severe swelling in the throat, making it hard to breathe
- infections of the blood, joints, bones, and covering of the heart
Before the ActHIB vaccine, approximately 20,000 children in the United States under the age of 5 contracted Hib disease each year, and about 3 to 6% of them died.
The ActHIB vaccine can prevent Hib disease. Since the use of the ActHIB vaccine began, the number of cases of invasive Hib disease has decreased by more than 99%. Many more children would contract Hib disease if we stopped vaccinating.
What is ActHIB vaccine?
Several different brands of the ActHIB vaccine are available. Your child will receive 3 or 4 doses, depending on the vaccine used.
ActHIB vaccine doses are generally recommended at these ages:
- First Dose: 2 months of age
- Second Dose: 4 months of age
- Third Dose: 6 months of age (if needed, depending on brand of vaccine)
- Final/Booster Dose: 12 to 15 months of age
The ActHIB vaccine can be administered at the same time as other vaccines.
The ActHIB vaccine can be administered as part of a combination vaccine. Combination vaccines are made when two or more types of vaccines are combined into a single injection, so that one vaccine can protect against more than one disease.
Children older than 5 years and adults generally do not need the ActHIB vaccine. But it may be recommended for older children or adults with asplenia or sickle cell disease, before surgery to remove the spleen, or after a bone marrow transplant. It can also be recommended for people ages 5 to 18 with HIV. Consult your doctor for more details.
Your doctor or the person giving you the vaccine can give you more information.
Who should not get ActHIB vaccine or should wait?
The ActHIB Vaccine should not be given to babies younger than 6 weeks of age.
A person who has ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction after a previous dose of the ActHIB vaccine, OR who has a severe allergy to any part of this vaccine, should not receive the ActHIB vaccine. Tell the person giving the vaccine about any severe allergies.
People who are mildly ill can receive the ActHIB vaccine. People with moderate or severe illness should probably wait until they recover. Talk to your healthcare provider if the person receiving the vaccine is not feeling well on the day the vaccination is scheduled.
What are the risks of a vaccine reaction?
With any medication, including vaccines, there is a possibility of side effects. These are generally mild and go away on their own. Serious reactions are also possible but are rare.
Most people who get the ActHIB vaccine have no problem with it.
Mild problems following ActHIB vaccine
- redness, warmth, or swelling where the shot was given
These problems are uncommon. If they occur, they usually begin soon after the shot and last 2 or 3 days.
Problems that could happen after any vaccine
Any medication can cause a severe allergic reaction. Such reactions from a vaccine are very rare, estimated to be less than 1 in a million doses, and would occur within minutes to a few hours after vaccination.
As with any medication, there is a very small chance that a vaccine will cause serious injury or death.
Older children, teens, and adults can also experience these problems after any vaccination:
• People sometimes pass out after a medical procedure, including vaccination. Sitting or lying down for about 15 minutes can help prevent fainting and injury from a fall. Tell your doctor if you feel dizzy or if you have vision changes or ringing in your ears.
• Some people experience severe shoulder pain and have difficulty moving the arm where the injection was given. This happens very rarely.
Vaccine safety is always monitored. For more information, visit http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/.
What if there is a serious reaction?
What should I look for?
• Look for anything that concerns you, such as signs of a severe allergic reaction, a very high fever, or unusual behavior.
• Signs of a severe allergic reaction may include hives, swelling of the face and throat, trouble breathing, fast heartbeat, dizziness, and weakness. These would generally start a few minutes to a few hours after vaccination.
What should I do?
• If you think it is a serious allergic reaction or other emergency that cannot wait, call 9-1-1 and take the person to the nearest hospital. If not, call your doctor.
• Subsequently, the reaction should be reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). Your doctor can submit this report, or you can do it yourself through the VAERS website at http://www.vaers.hhs.gov, or by calling 1-800-822-7967.
VAERS does not give medical advice.
The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program
The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) is a federal program that was created to compensate people who may have been injured by certain vaccines.
People who believe they have been injured by a vaccine can obtain information about the program and how to file a claim by calling 1-800-338-2382 or visiting the VICP website at http://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation. There is a time limit to file a claim for compensation.
How can I learn more?
• Ask your doctor. He or she can give you the vaccine package insert or suggest other sources of information.
• Call your state or local health department.
• Contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Call 1-800-232-4636 (1-800-CDC-INFO) or visit the CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines.
ActHIB Vaccine Information Statement. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Immunization Program.
- Liquid Pedvax HIB
Brand names of combination products
- Comvax® (containing Haemophilus influenzae type b, Hepatitis B)
- MenHibrix® (containing Haemophilus influenzae type b, Meningococcal Vaccine)
- Pentacel® (containing Diphtheria, Tetanus Toxoids, Acellular Pertussis, Haemophilus influenzae type b, Polio Vaccine)
Disclaimer: We have made every effort to ensure that all information is factually accurate, comprehensive and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a licensed health care professional’s choice of knowledge and expertise. You should always consult your doctor or other health care professional before taking any medication. The information given here is subject to change and it has not been used to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions or adverse effects. The lack of warning or other information for any drug does not indicate that the combination of medicine or medication is safe, effective or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.