21-May-15 6:00 AM  CST

Researchers Now Understand Why HIB Vaccine Reduces Risk for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL)

The use of vaccinations has been a topic of great debate for several years, but in the last year it seems to have gained new ground. From a report, later found to be without merit, that linked childhood vaccinations to Autism, to an outbreak of measles at Disneyland, the controversy over the use of vaccinations seems to have run the gamut. However, it appears there is one more news worthy piece of information that is turning heads and it has to do with the HIB vaccine.

 HIB or haemophilius influenza type B is a bacteria known to cause meningitis, a disease that causes swelling of the brain and spinal cord membranes. HIB is the leading cause of meningitis in children under the age of 5 years and can be spread with something as simple as a cough or sneeze. 3-6 % of children who are infected with the HIB virus die from the disease and many more may suffer from debilitating side effects such as coma, declining cognitive or learning abilities, as well as nervous system and brain damage. It is for these reasons in 1992 that the HIB vaccine became a normal part of the childhood vaccination schedule. Children should be given the initial HIB vaccination at 2months and subsequent doses of the vaccine at 4 months and 6 months, with booster of the vaccine at 12-15 years of age.

There is one more added benefit that the HIB vaccine has been proven to afford young patients and until recently, researchers were puzzled by the reasons why. Children who have been given the HIB vaccine are at a decreased risk for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, or more commonly ALL. ALL is the most prevalent cancer in young children. Children who have been inoculated with the HIB vaccine have a 20% reduced risk for being diagnosed with ALL and until recently the reasons why this was true perplexed modern science.

A recent study published in “Nature Immunology” provides the answers for why the HIB vaccine is an added layer of protection for ALL. The immune system response of infants and children are much more pliable than those of adolescents and adults. When our bodies are invaded with what is seen a “foreign body” our immune systems kick into overdrive to eliminate the unwanted visitor from our system. In infants and children the immune system appears to get an added booster from the HIB vaccine causing the body to have greater response to invading ALL cells, which in turn, reduces the risk of an ALL diagnosis.

Regardless of which side of the vaccination debate you reside this latest discover concerning the added benefits of the HIB vaccine certainly deserves a second glance.



Bakalar, N. (2015), “How a Childhood Vaccine Reduces the Risk of a Cancer”, New York Times, http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/05/20/scientists-unravel-how-a-vaccine-reduces-risk-of-a-cancer/?ref=health&_r=0, retrieved, 21, May, 2015

WebMD, (2015), “Hib (H.influenzae Type B) Vaccine Schedule and Side Effects”, http://www.webmd.com/children/vaccines/hib-h-influenzae-type-b-vaccine?page=2, retrieved, 21, May, 2015


For additional information on this article, please contact:
Sandra Andrews
(717) 360-1159
Source: Sandy Andrews  

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