Haemophilus influenzae type b bacteria cause a variety of serious illnesses, from arthritis to meningitis to infections of the bloodstream. However, PedvaxHIB is used to prevent these conditions by "tricking" the body into producing antibodies in response to the vaccine. It is approved for use in children ages two months to six years old, but can be given to older children in certain circumstances.
PedvaxHIB® (Hib vaccine) is a childhood vaccine designed for use in children ranging from two months to six years of age. It is approved to prevent invasive disease caused by the Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) bacteria. Invasive Hib diseases that PedvaxHIB can help prevent include:
- Bacterial meningitis (a life-threatening infection of the brain and spinal cord covering)
- Epiglottitis (a type of severe throat infection)
- Bloodstream infections
- Bone infections
- Skin infections
- Endocarditis (infection of the inner lining of the heart).
PedvaxHIB was unavailable for a while, due to problems with the manufacturing process. However, it is now available again.
This vaccine contains Hib polysaccharides, which are 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, but without the risk of being exposed to the actual bacteria. The body produces antibodies that will help fight infection if future exposure occurs.
PedvaxHIB is not approved for children age six and older. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) does not recommend vaccinating most individuals age five and 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 no spleen, HIV, or sickle cell anemia.