Signs & symptoms of a reaction to Hib vaccine

As with any vaccine there is a very real chance of an adverse reaction affecting you or your loved one. In this article, let’s look at the childhood vaccination better known as the Hib vaccine.


The Hib vaccine, Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccine, prevents meningitis (an infection of the covering of the brain and spinal cord), pneumonia (lung infection), epiglottitis (a severe throat infection), and other serious infections caused by a type of bacteria called Haemophilus influenzae type b.

The Hib bacteria may be found in the mouth, throat, or nose. The most common way of spreading the bacteria from person to person is by coughing and sneezing. Coming into contact with an infected person by kissing or sharing food, drinks, and utensils may also spread the bacteria. Hib bacteria may also spread after an ear, nose, throat, sinus, or brain infection.

It is recommended for all children under 5 years old in the US, and it is usually given to infants starting at 2 months old. The Hib vaccine can be combined with other vaccines. Some brands of vaccine contain Hib along with other vaccines in a single shot. Hib vaccine can safely be combined with other vaccines to make these combination vaccines.

Although this vaccine is recommended by The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, The American Academy of Pediatrics, and others as well, there are several potential reactions with this vaccination.

The most common, that the government recognizes, are local reactions at the injection site, such as warmth, redness, and swelling, occurring in 5%–30% of recipients. They also say that up to one out of 20 children may develop a fever over 101°F.

They believe in general, adverse reactions to the vaccine are mild. And according to the CDC, Clinical trials and ongoing surveillance have shown Hib vaccine to be safe.

On several official websites, such as the, they do list a number of more severe reactions, but they believe them to be extremely rare. They claim the most common severe reaction would be a serious allergic reaction.

Signs of a serious allergic reaction can include difficulty breathing, redness or swelling of the face. hoarseness or wheezing, hives, paleness, weakness, a fast heart beat, dizziness, or loss of consciousness (passing out) within a few minutes to a few hours after the shot.

As stated, these are the “recognized” adverse symptoms by the federal government. However, there is literature that supports other reactions, such as the Guillain-Barre syndrome, and diabetes.

Guillain-Barre Syndrome, GBS, is when the body’s immune system attacks the nervous system, causing weakness and paralysis, which eventually wear off. But intensive care is needed for all the body’s systems that shut down in the meantime.

Although GBS has been reported after some vaccines, it has never been “proven” that there is an actual connection between the two. Some studies suggest that when tetanus is present in a vaccine (such as it is in the HIB vaccine), it can logically be assumed that Guillain-Barre is a threat because of the way tetanus typically attacks a person’s nervous system.

There was also a study done in Finland that related the Hib vaccine to diabetes. The graphs at this website show that the annual incidence of diabetes rose drastically after the Haemophilus immunization.

If you develop signs and symptoms of a serious reaction, even though they may not be recognized as official adverse reactions by the CDC, be sure to seek medical care immediately.

Also, if you are having an allergic reaction, lie down with your legs propped up and call 911. Tell caregivers that you received the Hib vaccine.



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