Monday, Nov. 03, 2008

A Five-in-One Vaccine

Any parent can appreciate how much babies hate shots. So, welcome Pentacel, the first vaccine to immunize against five diseases at once — diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio and haemophilus influenzae type B. The vaccine was studied in more 5,000 infants, who showed only minor side effects, including fever, redness and swelling at the injection site. Pentacel still has to be administered in four separate doses, three times between the ages of 2 and 6 months, then again between 15 and 18 months — but it cuts down by 30% on the 23 injections toddlers under 18 months normally receive. Telescoping immunizations may help to get more kids up to date on their immunizations; so far, 77.4% of kids aged 19 to 35 months have received all of their vaccinations, which is just shy of the government's goal of 80% by 2010.