First Six-In-One Pediatric Combination Vaccine Now Available in the United States

Vaccine

With a new combination vaccination available in the United States, taking your child to the doctor to get vaccines might become a little less of a hassle. Or at the very least, less frequent.

On Tuesday, it was announced that a new pediatric combination vaccine is now available in the U.S. The new vaccination, dubbed VAXELIS, is indicated for active immunization to help prevent diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, poliomyelitis, hepatitis B, and invasive disease due to Haemophilus influenzae type b.

It is the first and only six-in-one pediatric combination vaccine available in the United States. The vaccine was developed by Merck and Sanofi Pasteur and is approved to be used as a 3-dose series in children six weeks through four years of age.

“Given the potential to reduce the number of shots by as many as three in the first six months of life, as compared to pentavalent vaccines plus hepatitis B or Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccines, VAXELIS represents an important option for healthcare professionals and parents,” said Joanne Monahan, senior vice president, U.S. Vaccines, Merck. “Merck and Sanofi have been in contact with the major insurers and the appropriate pricing publications to notify them of the availability of VAXELIS, and we look forward to working with payers and providers to deliver this novel hexavalent vaccine to age-appropriate children.”

While VAXELIS is the first six-in-one vaccine in the United States, combination vaccines in general have been around for a while (since the mid-1940s). In fact, some of them are so common, some people might not even realize they fall under this category.

A combination vaccine is when two or more vaccines that could be given individually are put together into one shot.

Some common combination shots include MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) and DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis), although they could not be considered true combo vaccines because they aren't available as separate vaccines in the United States.

Other common pediatric combination vaccines include Pediarix, ProQuad, Kinrix and Pentacel. 

Some of the benefits of combination vaccines include fewer shots, on-time protection, fewer visits to the doctor and less hassle overall.

The U.S.-based partnership between Merck and Sanofi Pasteur under which VAXELIS was developed was established in 1991, and utilizes the companies' development, manufacturing and marketing experience for individual and combination vaccines.

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