Hiberix is approved for preventing diseases caused by a type of bacteria called Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib). The bacteria can cause potentially life-threatening illnesses, including pneumonia, bacterial meningitis, and arthritis. Healthcare providers may also recommend off-label uses for Hiberix, such as for providing immunization in children under 15 months old or over four years old.
What Is Hiberix Used For?
Hiberix® (Hib vaccine) is a booster vaccine designed for use in children ages 15 months to four years of age (before the fifth birthday). It is approved to prevent invasive disease caused by Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) bacteria. Invasive Hib diseases include:
- Bacterial meningitis (a life-threatening infection of the brain and spinal cord covering)
- Epiglottis (a type of severe throat infection)
- Skin infections
- Bone infections
- Endocarditis (infection of the inner lining of the heart)
- Bloodstream infections.
Hib can also cause non-invasive disease, such as ear infections or sinus infections, but Hib vaccines (including Hiberix) are approved only for the prevention of invasive Hib diseases.
How Does Hiberix Work?
This vaccine contains Hib polysaccharides, which are basically sugar molecules from the outside coating of the Hib bacteria. Simply stated, the components of this vaccine "trick" the body into thinking it has been exposed to Hib, without the risk of being exposed to the actual bacteria. The body produces antibodies that will help fight the infections if future exposure occurs.
Using Hiberix in Older Children and Adults
Currently, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) does not recommend vaccinating most individuals five years old or older for Hib, even if they have not received any doses of any Hib vaccine. Vaccination may be considered for an older child at an especially high risk for invasive Hib diseases (such as a child with HIV, no spleen, or sickle-cell anemia).