- Haemophilus influenzae B (hib) is a serious bacterial infection which can occasionally lead to meningitis.
- Since the introduction of the Haemophilus influenzae serotype b vaccine, the burden of disease has shifted to adults aged ≥65 years.
- In the sixteen years between 2003 and 2018, there were six deaths across all ages from hib.
Health Freedom Ireland (HFI) encourages you to become fully informed about vaccines and the associated illnesses so that you can give informed consent if you choose to vaccinate yourself or your child(ren). This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. HFI is simply bringing this information to you – we neither recommend nor advise against vaccination.
Do the HSE recommend a vaccine for hib?
Each of the vaccines outlined below is covered in detail in the linked Health Freedom Ireland documents (including risks, benefits, ingredients and studies). 4 doses of hib vaccine are recommended before 13 months.
- Infanrix Hexa (6-in-1) vaccine is recommended at 2, 4 & 6 months of age.
- Menitorix vaccine – 1 dose recommended at 13 months
As of 23rd September, 2023, 67,851 adverse events (including 217 SIDS deaths) have been reported on the World Health Organisation VigiAccess database for 6-in-1 vaccines including Infanrix Hexa and 2131 for hib/meningococcal vaccines including Menitorix.
Does vaccination guarantee protection from hib?
No the vaccine does not guarantee protection from the disease. In the fifteen years between 2004 and 2018, an average of 40% of hib cases were vaccinated. Hib vaccines target only H. influenzae type b and offer no protection against any other strain of H. influenzae infection.
What is Haemophilus Influenza B (Hib)?
Haemophilus influenzae type b or hib (nothing to do with the flu) is a bacterial infection that is spread by coughing or sneezing. In most cases, it remains in the mouth and nose for up to several months, without causing illness. In general, H. influenzae disease is considered to be minimally contagious, however, if a person has close contact to someone who is infected with or is carrying H. influenzae, transmission has been known to occur. Hib infections are more likely to occur between September and December and again between March and May.
According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), babies under 6 months are protected by maternal antibodies. They also state that:
“Breastfeeding is protective against Hib in children younger than six months of age and breast milk has been shown to contain secretory antibodies to the Hib PRP capsule”.
People can develop antibodies to Haemophilus influenzae B and other forms (A-F) also even if they simply carry the bacteria in their nose and do not have symptoms:
“90% of healthy individuals carry Haemophilus influenzae in their nose, approximately 5% of these organisms will be type B. Antibodies are produced against the encapsulated forms either as a result of disease or of asymptomatic carriage in the nose or the pharynx. Antibodies may also be formed as a result of infections with other organisms that have similar capsules eg E. coli k100 found in the gut”. (Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine, 1987)
Occasionally, the bacteria can enter the bloodstream and spread to the brain or to the bone causing the following invasive hib related infections:
- Meningitis – inflammation of the lining around the brain
- Septicaemia – blood poisoning
- Epiglottitis – swelling in throat
- Osteomyelitis – infection of the bone
Factors that increase the risk of hib progressing to an invasive disease are immunosuppression, HIV infection, low socio-economic status, large household size and crowding according to the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC).
What is the risk of my child getting hib or a hib related infection in Ireland?
Between the years 2004 and 2018 there was an extremely rare chance of 1 in 3.3 million (0.00003%) of getting hib in Ireland. In 2018, one case of H. influenzae type b (hib) was reported; an unvaccinated case aged 85+ years, the same number as in 2017, also in an elderly person.
What is the risk of dying from hib or a hib related infection in Ireland?
The risk of dying from hib or a hib related infection in Ireland between 1987 and 1991 before the vaccine was extremely rare at 1 in 50,000 (0.002%).
|INVASIVE INFECTIONS DEATHS PRE HIB VACCINE|
|Osteomyelitis (and other)||3||4||5||4||4||4|
|average population 1987 – 1991 = 3,523,800 average annual risk of dying from hib related invasive infection during this period < 1 in 50,000 (0.002%)|
|Hib deaths 2003 to 2018, all ages|
|average population 2003 – 2018 = 4,468,203 |
average annual risk of dying from infection due to hib during this period < 1 in 12m (0.000008%)
Hib disease Vs vaccine risk summary
Read the Health Freedom Ireland article on the Infanrix Hexa (6-in-1) vaccine which includes the hib vaccine for further information including risk and ingredients analysis, studies in support of and studies highlighting concerns.
|RISK FROM HIB DISEASE|
|Risk of getting hib in Ireland 2004 to 2018||Extremely rare: <1 in 3.3m (0.00003%)|
|Risk of dying from hib in Ireland before vaccine was introduced in 1992||Very rare: <1 in 50,000 (0.002%)|
|Risk of dying from hib in Ireland 2004 to 2018||Negligible: 1 in 12m (0.000008%)|
|RISK FROM HIB VACCINE|
see section 4 of patient information leaflet for full list of side effects
**Severe allergic reactions can occur to any vaccine but they are very rare and are usually seen in less than 1 in 10,000 people who are vaccinated
|Infanrix Hexa (6-in-1) vaccine|
(3 doses recommended at 2, 4 & 6 months)
|Risk of bronchitis, lymphadenopathy, bleeding or bruising more easily (thrombocytopenia)||Rare: up to 1 in 1,000 doses (0.1%)|
|Risk of Neuropathy, Guillain-Barré syndrome, encephalopathy, encephalitis, meningitis (causal relationship to the vaccine has not been established)||In extremely rare cases (frequency not defined)|
(1 dose recommended at 13 months)
|Risk of collapse, shock-like state, fainting, convulsions, joint pain||Very rare: <1 in 10,000 doses (0.01%)|
|Risk abdominal pain, sleeplessness, generally feeling unwell||Rare: up to 1 in 1,000 doses (0.1%)|
Join the parents support group to continue the discussion and learn from the experience of others
Health Freedom Ireland:
Health Freedom Ireland Infanrix Hexa (6-in-1) vaccine