February 01, 2009
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Combination vaccine may help simplify immunization schedule

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Health officials are hopeful that favorable data from a multicenter clinical trial evaluating a combined DTaP, poliovirus and Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccine will help eliminate many missed or delayed vaccine opportunities.

“This study supports the conclusion that the diphtheria-tetanus-five-component-acellular pertussis, inactivated poliovirus, H. influenzae type b combined vaccine (DTaP5-IPV-Hib, Pentacel, Sanofi Pasteur) is a suitable replacement for the separately administered licensed equivalent DTaP5 (Daptacel, Sanofi Pasteur), IPV (IPOL, Sanofi Pasteur) and Hib (ActHIB, Sanofi Pasteur) vaccines based on similar safety profiles, post-dose three and post-dose four antibody responses to the vaccine antigens and persistence of antibody up to the age of the preschool fifth booster,” the researchers wrote.

Data from the 1,939 healthy infants who received either the DTaP5-IPV-Hib vaccine or separate doses of DTaP5; IPV; Hib; measles, mumps and rubella (MMR); varicella vaccine live (Varivax, Merck); and seven-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7, Prevnar, Wyeth) indicated that that the combination vaccine was just as safe and immunogenic as separately administered, U.S.–licensed equivalent vaccines.

“By combining the antigens of three separate vaccines into one combination vaccine, DTaP5-IPV-Hib would reduce the total number of injections in the first 18 months of life by seven,” the researchers wrote. “Minimizing the number of injections in an increasingly complex schedule of recommended immunizations may help to improve compliance and thus optimize protection against vaccine-preventable diseases.”

Pediatrics. In press.