Editorials

Misconceptions about the new combination vaccine

BMJ 2004; 329 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.329.7463.411 (Published 19 August 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:411
  1. Helen Bedford, lecturer in children's health (h.bedford@ich.ucl.ac.uk),
  2. David Elliman, consultant in community child health
  1. Institute of Child Health and Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, London WC1N 3JH
  2. Institute of Child Health and Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, London WC1N 3JH

    Pentavalent vaccine is better in many ways

    The publicity surrounding the news of impending changes to the childhood vaccination programme has once again highlighted important misconceptions about combination vaccines. Although changes are being made to vaccines at three different ages,1 all the attention has focused on the new pentavalent vaccine (DTaP/Hib/IPV), being given in infancy, with headlines of chaos and panic. This is regrettable since the new vaccine offers children protection against the same five diseases as the previous regimen but in a slightly different, more acceptable, formulation. This change is a natural progression in the light of changes in the epidemiology of polio and advances in vaccine technology—developments that were predictable some years ago.

    The use of inactivated polio vaccine rather than oral polio vaccine is now possible because of the near elimination of polio worldwide. While wild polio remained a serious threat, the small risk of vaccine associated paralytic polio was outweighed by …

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