Most folks know that we have combination vaccines that help reduce the number of injections that kids have to get at one visit.
You might not think of it as a combination vaccine, but one of the first, DPT, simply combines protection against diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus into one shot.
Of course, we have come a long way since the days when DPT and MMR were considered combination vaccines.
Wait, why aren’t they considered combination vaccines anymore?
It’s not part of any conspiracy. It’s simply because you can’t get their individual components separately anymore. There is no measles or rubella shots anymore. Just the MMR. There is no tetanus shot.
Not surprisingly, it is now becoming routine for kids to get combination vaccines instead of separate shots.
That’s because while the great majority of us want our kids vaccinated and protected, few enjoy shots and needles.
“The use of licensed combination vaccines is preferred over separate injection of their equivalent component vaccines.”
AAP on Combination Vaccines for Childhood Immunization
Does this mean more vaccines at one visit?
“So, at a doctor’s visit, your child may only get two or three shots to protect him from five diseases, instead of five individual shots. Fewer shots may mean less pain for your child and less stress for you.”
CDC on Combination Vaccines
It just means fewer injections.
Combination vaccines combine the vaccines that you are already getting into one injection.
What Is a Hexavalent Vaccine?
And they might get even fewer with the latest hexavalent vaccines (six-in-one).
This is the next step up from our current pentavelent vaccines (five-in-one), like Pediarix (combines DTaP, Hep B, and IPV) and Pentacel (combines DTaP, IPV, and Hib).
The hexavalent vaccines combine protection against diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis, Haemophilus influenzae type B, poliovirus and hepatitis B (DTaP-Hib-IPV-HepB) into one injection.
Sounds good, right?
Although not approved in the United States, hexavalent vaccines, including Infanrix Hexa have been used in many other countries since 2000! Another, Hexavac was withdrawn from the market because of issues with waning hepatitis B antibody titers (kids had levels that were still protective, but were on the low side).
When will get a hexavalent vaccine in the United States?
Obviously, the early problems with Hexavac kept us from getting a hexavalent vaccine, at least before the next generation of vaccines was developed.
Two new hexavalent vaccines, Vaxelis and Hexyon, have recently been licensed in Europe, after many studies showed that they worked and were safe when given with all of the other vaccines on the schedule, including Prevnar, rotavirus, Men C, and MMRV.
And one of these might soon be coming to the United States.
V419 (Vaxelis), which was developed in collaboration between Merck and Sanofi Pasteur, has been under review by the FDA since 2014 has already received a Complete Response Letter that was “deemed complete and acceptable for review.”
And it was approved by the FDA on December 21, 2018.
Remember, that could mean just two shots at infant well check ups, but continued protection against eight vaccine-preventable diseases, as they get a hexavalent vaccine, Prevnar and the rotavirus vaccine!
It may be at least another year before Vaxelis makes it way to your pediatrician’s office though.
More on the Hexavalent Vaccine
- FDA – Vaxelis
- AAP – Combination Vaccines for Childhood Immunization: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP)
- CDC – Combination Vaccines
- Ask the Experts about Combination Vaccines–DTaP-Hib-IPV-HepB
- Study – A liquid hexavalent combined vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, poliomyelitis, Haemophilus influenzae type B and hepatitis B: review of immunogenicity and safety.
- WHO – Safety of hexavalent vaccines
- WHO – Hexavalent vaccine: less injections and more protection for babies
- Study – New perspectives for hexavalent vaccines.
- Study – Immunogenicity, Safety, and Tolerability of a Hexavalent Vaccine in Infants
- Study – Safety, Tolerability, and Immunogenicity of V419 Given Concomitantly With Prevnar 13™ and RotaTeq™ (V419-005)
- DTaP5-HB-IPV-Hib Vaccine (Vaxelis®): A Review of its Use in Primary and Booster Vaccination.
- European Medicines Agency recommends suspension of Hexavac