Combination vaccine safe and effective for infants

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A combination vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio and flu, which is routinely used in Canadian children, has been shown to be effective and well tolerated in a U.S. study.

The randomized trial was conducted to support U.S. licensure of the vaccine known as DTaP5-IPV-Hib, which incorporates diphtheria-tetanus-5-component acellular pertussis (DTaP5), inactivated poliovirus (IPV), and Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib) vaccines.

Nearly 2000 infants were vaccinated at 2, 4, and 6 months of age, either with the DTaP5-IPV-Hib combination vaccine (Pentacel; Sanofi Pasteur Ltd., Toronto, Ontario) or with the DTaP5, IPV and Hib vaccines administered separately. Some babies in each group were also given fourth dose of DTaP5-IPV-Hib or of the DTaP5 and Hib vaccines as toddlers.

In the journal Pediatrics, Dr. Fernando A. Guerra of the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District in Texas and colleagues report that, compared with licensed vaccines, the combined vaccine was equally effective and produced similar or fewer reactions at the injection site and throughout the body.

“The current results are reassuring and consistent with safety surveillance data in Canada, where for the past decade, the combination vaccine has been the only DTaP-containing vaccine used among infants and toddlers,” the researchers conclude.

SOURCE: Pediatrics, January 2009.

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