Hib/MenC vaccine

Key vaccine facts

This vaccine boosts protection against against Hib disease, and protects against meningococcal disease caused by type C Neisseria meningitidis bacteria. It is given at 12-13 months in the UK schedule.

The Hib/MenC vaccine was introduced in the UK in 2006, after studies showed that protection against Hib provided by the 5-in-1 vaccine (given to babies at 2, 3 and 4 months) waned during the second year of life.

It is a combination vaccine, which reduces the number of injections a child needs. It can safely be given at the same time as other vaccines in the schedule. See more information on combination vaccines and multiple vaccinations.

The Hib/MenC vaccine is also recommended for people with some long-term health conditions who are at greater risk of complications from Hib disease and meningococcal disease. This includes people with:

  • asplenia or splenic dysfunction (a spleen that is missing or does not work properly)
  • sickle cell anaemia
  • coeliac disease
  • complement disorders (the complement system is an important part of the immune system)

The vaccine does not contain any live bacteria and cannot cause Hib disease or meningococcal disease.

Ingredients

The Hib/MenC vaccine is a conjugate vaccine. This means that sugars (polysaccharides) from the surface of the Hib and MenC bacteria are joined to a protein (in this case, a non-toxic protein from tetanus). This is done because the sugars alone do not produce a good immune response in infants and children.

The vaccine contains very small amounts of:

  • sodium chloride (salt)
  • sucrose (sugar), used as a stabiliser

The vaccine may also contain a trace of trometamol, an acidity regulator used in the manufacture of the vaccine.

The Hib/MenC vaccine used in the UK does not contain the preservative thiomersal (mercury).

Side effects

Common but not serious:

  • redness, tenderness and/or swelling at the injection site
  • slightly raised temperature
  • irritability
  • loss of appetite

Many of these symptoms can be relieved by giving paracetamol (Calpol)if your child is over 2 months, or ibuprofen if your child is over 3 months and weighs more than 5kg (see NHS Choices for more advice on giving painkillers to babies and children).

Rare side effects:

  • diarrhoea
  • vomiting
  • high temperature
  • atopic dermatitis (a skin condition)

You should consult your doctor if these happen after vaccination. This is mainly to check that it is the vaccine causing the symptoms, and not some unrelated disease.

As with any vaccine, medicine or food, there is a very small chance of a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis). Anaphylaxis is different from less severe allergic reactions because it causes life-threatening breathing and/or circulation problems. It is always serious but can be treated with adrenaline. In the UK between 1997 and 2003 there were a total of 130 reports of anaphylaxis following ALL immunisations, but all of these people survived. Around 117 million doses of vaccines were given in the UK during this period, making the overall rate around 1 in 900,000. Depending on the cause of the reaction, and following expert guidance, the person may be able to have vaccinations in the future.

Reactions listed under ‘possible side effects’ or ‘adverse events’ on vaccine product information sheets may not all be directly linked to the vaccine. See Vaccine side effects and adverse reactions for more information on why this is the case.

See more information on the monitoring of vaccine safety.

More information about the vaccine

Following introduction of the MenC vaccine in 1999, the number of cases of meningococcal disease caused by group C bacteria fell by over 90% in vaccinated groups.

In 1991, the year before a Hib vaccine was introduced, there were 759 reported cases of invasive Hib in children under five in England. In 2014, there were only 2 confirmed cases in this age group.

Source for data: Public Health England

Page last updated: 
Monday, February 13, 2017

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