HiB vaccines help to prevent infection caused by the bacteria, Haemophilus Influenzae type B.
HiB disease tends to affect children below 5 years of age. It can cause many different kinds of infections, ranging from mild illnesses, such as ear infections or bronchitis, to severe illnesses, such as pneumonia, infections of the bloodstream or brain/spinal cord (meningitis), sometimes leading to death.
It is spread from one person to another through close contact or the air, via coughs or sneezes. People who are not sick but have the bacteria in their noses and throats can still spread the bacteria.
Symptoms of HiB infection depend on the site of infection. In pneumonia where the lungs are affected, symptoms include shortness of breath, cough and fever. In meningitis where the brain/spinal cord are affected, symptoms include sudden onset of irritability, vomiting, poor appetite, or becoming inactive.
Who Should Receive the HiB Vaccine?As part of the Singapore National Childhood Immunisation Schedule (NCIS), all children should receive three doses and a booster at appropriate intervals, for example at age 2, 4, 6 months old, followed by a booster dose at age 18 months old.It is also recommended in adults who are at risk of invasive HiB infection, such as those without a functional spleen, who suffer from immunodeficiencies, or those receiving chemotherapy.