Who gets the Hib/MenC Jab?

Hib (Haemophilus influenzae B) and MenC (meningitis C) are both dangerous bacterial infections which can, in extreme cases, be fatal. Both conditions can cause acute, severe symptoms that require immediate treatment. Fortunately routine immunisation has drastically reduced the number of cases of both Hib and MenC in countries where vaccination programmes are in place, and in this article we look at who gets the 2-in-1 jab against meningitis C.

Prior doses to Hib and MenC

Immunisations against both Hib and MenC are actually provided before a dose of the combination Hib/MenC jab is offered to children at one year of age. This is actually the final dose in a series that work to provide a child with lasting and effective immunity against both diseases.

Vaccinations against Hib are provided through the 5-in-1 injection which also immunises against whooping cough, diphtheria, tetanus, and polio. This injection is offered to babies at 2, 3, and 4 months of age as part of the NHS’ routine vaccination programme. Vaccinations against MenC are offered as single injections at 3 and 4 months of age.

Multiple doses are needed because both vaccines are not made up of live bacterium. Live viruses often require as little as a single dose to confer lasting immunity, however the Hib and MenC vaccines used are based on different vaccination technologies that require multiple ‘booster’ doses to achieve the end goal of lifelong immunity.

Who gets the combination Hib and MenC injection?

The combination injection is offered to children at one year of age, and an appointment is usually scheduled shortly after a child’s first birthday. This dose is the last in a series described earlier in this article, and is important to provide immunity against both diseases that lasts well into adulthood.

The Hib/MenC injection is described as a ‘booster’ dose because it builds on the effects of previous doses of a vaccine, effectively ‘boosting’ immunity.

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