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Haemophilus influenzae type b/Meningococcal group C (Hib/MenC)

Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) and meningococcal group C (MenC) (Neisseria meningitidis group C) infections are serious and potentially fatal. They can both cause meningitis and sepsis (blood poisoning).

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Background

Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) and meningococcal group C (MenC) (Neisseria meningitidis group C) infections are serious and potentially fatal. They can both cause meningitis and sepsis (blood poisoning).

Meningitis can affect anyone, but is most common in babies, young children, teenagers and young adults. Sepsis can be life-threatening and result in permanent damage to the brain or nerves.

Hib

Hib is a bacterial infection caused by Haemophilus influenzae type b that can cause a number of serious illnesses, particularly in young children.

Meningitis is the most severe illness caused by Hib. Even with treatment, one in every 20 children with Hib meningitis will die.

Those who survive may have long-term problems, such as hearing loss, seizures and learning disabilities.

MenC

There are 12 known groups of meningococcal bacteria (Neisseria meningitidis), the most common of which are groups A, B, C, W and Y.

MenC bacterial infections most frequently cause meningitis, or severe blood poisoning (sepsis) that can spread throughout the body.

Meningitis and sepsis are very serious illnesses that need urgent medical treatment.

More information on the signs and symptoms of meningitis and sepsis: NHS 111 Wales - Health A-Z : Meningitis (external site).

Hib/MenC vaccine

The Hib/MenC vaccine is the safest and most effective way to help protect against meningitis and sepsis caused by Hib or MenC bacteria. 

The vaccine can only protect against meningitis and other infections caused by Hib and MenC. It cannot prevent meningitis caused by other bacteria or viruses.

More information on the vaccine: NHS 111 Wales - Hib/MenC vaccine (external site).

Additional protection from other types of meningococcal bacteria are also provided by the following vaccines:

 

Eligibility for the vaccine

Baby immunisations

As part of the routine immunisation programme in Wales, the Hib/MenC is a vaccination offered to all babies at 12 – 13 months of age.

If you have any questions about the Hib/MenC vaccine, or you are not sure about when your child should have it, you can contact your GP surgery for advice.

 

About the Hib/MenC vaccine

Babies will normally be given the Hib/MenC vaccine as one injection in their upper arm or upper leg (thigh). Older children will normally receive the Hib/MenC vaccination as an injection in their upper arm.

The Hib/MenC vaccine boosts the protection a child has already gained from the first course of Hib vaccinations, received in the 6-in-1 vaccine at 8, 12 and 16 weeks old, and also provides a first dose of MenC vaccine.

More information about the DTaP/IPV/Hib/HepB (6-in-1) vaccine.

The brand name of the Hib/MenC vaccine given in the UK is Menitorix.

If your child has missed any doses speak to your GP or practice nurse for advice.

Hib/MenC is not routinely given to children over 10 years of age.

Side effects of the Hib/MenC vaccine

The Hib/MenC vaccine is very safe but, as with all medicines, it can have side effects.

The most common reactions from the Hib/MenC vaccine include the following:

  • pain, redness or swelling at the site of the injection
  • fever
  • irritability
  • loss of appetite
  • sleepiness.

Other reactions are rare. For more information on common and rare side effects see:

If you are concerned about symptoms call NHS 111 Wales (external site). Calls to NHS 111 Wales are free from landlines and mobile phones.

You can report suspected side effects of vaccines and medicines through the Yellow Card scheme. You can do this online at yellowcard.mhra.gov.uk or by calling the Yellow Card scheme hotline on 0800 731 6789 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm).  

 

Information for the public

If you would like to learn more about the Hib/MenC vaccine or the diseases it protects against, a number of information resources are available to help. You can also call NHS 111 or your GP practice for advice if you have any questions.

Some public information resources can be found at the links below.

Leaflets

 

To order copies of the leaflets, visit the Health Information Resources page.

Further information

NHS 111 Wales - Hib/MenC FAQs (external site).

Meningitis Now is a national meningitis charity based in the United Kingdom.

Meningitis Research Foundation is a leading UK, Irish and international charity that brings together people and expertise to defeat meningitis and septicaemia.

The UK Sepsis Trust provides information and news about sepsis.