Overview

The Hib/MenC vaccine helps protect your baby against 2 of the causes of meningitis and septicaemia (blood poisoning). This vaccine will help protect your child through early childhood.

Your child will need a dose of the combined Hib/MenC vaccine between 12 and 13 months of age to:

  • boost their protection against Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)
  • help protect against meningitis and septicaemia caused by meningococcal group C (MenC) bacteria

The Hib/MenC vaccine doesn't protect against meningitis and septicaemia (blood poisoning) caused by:

  • meningococcal group B bacteria
  • other bacteria or viruses such as pneumococcal or mumps

What's Hib?

Hib is an infection caused by Haemophilus influenzae type b bacteria. It can lead to a number of major illnesses such as septicaemia (blood poisoning), pneumonia and meningitis.

More about Haemophilus influenzae type b

What's meningitis?

Meningitis is inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord. This causes pressure on the brain resulting in symptoms like:

  • severe headache
  • stiff neck
  • dislike of bright light
  • drowsiness
  • convulsions/fits

Meningitis can progress very rapidly and can lead to:

  • deafness
  • blindness
  • epilepsy
  • learning difficulties

It can even lead to death.

More about meningitis

What's septicaemia (blood poisoning)?

Septicaemia (blood poisoning) is a serious, life-threatening infection that gets worse very quickly and the risk of death is higher compared with meningitis.

The signs of cold hands and feet, pale skin, vomiting and being very sleepy or difficult to wake can come on quickly.

More about meningitis and septicaemia

The vaccine

The Hib/MenC combined vaccine, also commonly known as a booster, is given as an injection at your baby's 12 to 13 months appointment alongside the pneumococcal, MMR, and MenB vaccines.

This vaccine will boost their protection against Hib and help protect your baby against meningitis and septicaemia caused by MenC bacteria.

What vaccine's used?

The Menitorix vaccine's routinely used in Scotland.

What's a booster immunisation?

Booster immunisations are given to increase the protection already given by a primary immunisation. Sometimes the protection offered by a primary immunisation begins to wear off after a time. A booster dose extends the period of protection later into life.

The Hib vaccine only helps protect your child against the type of meningitis caused by the Haemophilus influenzae type b bacteria – it doesn't protect against any other type of meningitis.

How effective is the vaccine?

The illnesses caused by Hib can kill if they're not treated quickly. Before the Hib vaccine was introduced, there were about 800 cases of Hib in young children every year.

Before the MenC vaccine was introduced, the disease caused about 1500 cases and 150 deaths each year in the UK.

How do we know the vaccine's safe?

All medicines (including vaccines) are tested for safety and effectiveness by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). The vaccine meets the high safety standards required for it to be used in the UK and other European countries. The vaccine has been given to millions of people worldwide.

Once they're in use, the safety of vaccines continues to be monitored by the MHRA.

Where and when to get it

Your baby will get the Hib/Menc C vaccination at your GP practice or health centre.

When's my baby going to be immunised?

Your baby will be offered the Hib/MenC vaccine at 12 to 13 months. Your local NHS Health Board will contact you to let you know about their arrangements for your baby's routine childhood immunisations.

Most GP practices and health centres run special immunisation baby clinics. If you can’t get to the clinic, contact the practice or health centre to make another appointment.

Improving how vaccines are offered in Scotland

To improve how vaccinations are offered to you or your child, you may notice:

  • you're invited to a new location to receive your immunisations instead of your GP practice
  • the health professional giving your immunisations changes

You'll still receive clear information about the location, date and time of your appointment.

After the vaccine

After having the vaccine there may be side effects, but these are usually mild.

Side effects

Your baby may have redness, swelling or tenderness where they had the injection.

About half of all the babies who have the vaccine may become irritable, and about 1 in 20 could get a mild fever.

If you think your baby has had any other reaction to the vaccine and you're concerned about it, talk to your GP, practice nurse or health visitor.

If you're worried about your child, trust your instincts. Speak to your GP or phone the 111 service.

Phone your GP immediately if, at any time, your child has a temperature of 39°C or above, or has a fit. If your GP practice is closed, phone the 111 service immediately.

Read more about the common side effects of immunisations that might occur in babies and young children up to 5 years of age.

Where can I report suspected side effects?

You can report suspected side effects of vaccines and medicines through the Yellow Card Scheme.

This can be done by:

  • visiting the Yellow Card Scheme website
  • phoning the free Yellow Card hotline on 0808 100 3352 (available Monday to Friday, 10.00am to 2.00pm)

Further information

If you’re unsure about anything, or have any questions about the Hib/MenC vaccine, phone:

Vaccine Safety Net Member

NHS inform is a proud member of the Vaccine Safety Net.

The Vaccine Safety Net is a global network of websites, evaluated by the World Health Organization, that provides reliable information on vaccine safety.

More about the Vaccine Safety Net

Further information

If you’re unsure about anything, or have any questions about the Hib/MenC vaccine, phone:

Immunisation leaflet

NHS Health Scotland have produced a leaflet explaining routine childhood immunisations in Scotland including the Hib/MenC vaccine, why it's offered and when it's given.

This leaflet's also available in Easy Read English and other languages - including Polish, Simplified Chinese and Urdu.

A guide to childhood immunisations up to 5 years of age

Audio leaflet

Also on NHS inform