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Hib/MenC vaccine


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

What is 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 is 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 is septicaemia?

Septicaemia (blood poisoning) is a serious, life-threatening infection that gets worse very quickly. The risk of death is higher than 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 septicaemia

Why should a baby be vaccinated?

A child will be offered 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

When will a baby be immunised?

A baby will be offered the Hib/MenC vaccine at 12 to 13 months. Your local NHS immunisation team will contact you to let you know about their arrangements for the baby’s routine childhood immunisations.

Most NHS immunisation teams run special immunisation baby clinics. If you cannot attend your appointment contact your NHS immunisation team to make another.

Find out how to contact your NHS immunisation team regarding the baby’s vaccination appointment

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

The vaccine

The Hib/MenC vaccine is the best way to protect a baby against dangerous infections like meningitis. The illnesses caused by Hib can kill if they’re not treated quickly.

What vaccine is used?

The Menitorix vaccine is routinely used in Scotland.

How effective is the vaccine?

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.

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/MenC combined vaccine, also commonly known as a booster, is given as an injection at a 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 the baby against meningitis and septicaemia caused by MenC bacteria.

How do we know the vaccine is 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.

After the vaccine

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

Vaccines protect a baby against the risk of very serious infections and should not be delayed.

Side effects

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

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

Fever can be expected after any vaccination. Fevers are usually mild, so you only need to give a dose of infant paracetamol if the child isn’t comfortable or is unwell. Read the instructions on the bottle very carefully.

Ibuprofen can also be used to treat a fever and other post-vaccination reactions. Read the instructions on the product packing very carefully. Giving ibuprofen at the time of vaccination to prevent a fever is not effective.

Remember, never give medicines that contain aspirin to children under 16.

Information about treating a fever in children.

In infants who do develop a fever after vaccination, the fever tends to peak around 6 hours after vaccination and is nearly always gone completely within 2 days.

Phone 999 immediately if

  • the child has a fit

If you think the child is seriously ill, trust your instincts and seek urgent medical advice.

Phone your GP immediately if, at any time, the child:

  • has a temperature of 39°C or above
  • still has a fever 48 hours after vaccination
  • is causing you concern

If your GP practice is closed, phone the 111 service immediately.

The diseases vaccines protect against are very serious and therefore vaccination should not be delayed because of concerns about post-vaccination fever.

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

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 0800 731 6789 (available Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm)

Vaccine Safety Net Member

Public Health Scotland is a proud member of the Vaccine Safety Net and partners with NHS inform to provide reliable information on vaccine safety.

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

Information in other languages and formats

Information leaflets from Public Health Scotland are available in

  • British Sign Language (BSL), Audio, Easy Read, and Large Print formats
  • English and other languages

You can request another format or language (for example Braille) by emailing

Last updated:
17 July 2024

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