ATLANTA - Federal health officials on Wednesday said doctors should temporarily stop giving children the final booster shot of the Hib vaccine because of expected shortages caused by a recall.

Normally, the government recommends children get the three-shot vaccine at age 2 months, 4 months and then a booster at 12-15 months. But doctors should defer giving that last booster for the time being, said officials at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

Last week, 1.2 million doses of the Hib vaccine made by Merck & Co. was recalled because of contamination concerns at its West Point, Pa. production plant. The vaccine protects against Haemophilus influenza type B, which can cause meningitis, pneumonia and other serious infections.

The CDC sent a notice to doctors about the recommended deferral on Wednesday. The agency also recommended they keep track of the children who miss the booster and bring them back in for the shot when shortage concerns have ended.