FDA Approves a 6 in 1 Vaccine

What if you could eliminate some of the needle pokes your young child gets at his checkups? You’d do it, right?

Well, it won’t be long before you have the option to do just that.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has just approved a vaccine for children six weeks to four years that includes six different preventable diseases in one vaccine. They are calling this new combination vaccine “Vaxelis”.

Vaxelis contains antigens to immunize against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussus (whooping cough), hepatitus B, polio, and Haemophilus influenzae type b (HiB).

If you’ve been with me for a while, you may remember from previous articles, antigens are something that cause the immune system to come to investigate and form an immune response against. In the case of a vaccine, the antigen may be a small part of the virus, a killed bacteria, a weakened form of the virus…just to name a few.

It’s essential to understand that the antigens in a vaccine cannot cause full-blown disease. They are only there for your body to recognize, defend against, and then remember should the natural disease ever enter the body. (For more on immune memory: Beautiful Immune System Lesson 2)

Is it safe to vaccinate against six different diseases at once?

Almost always.

Unless your child is immunocompromised his body can handle many vaccines at once. It has been shown that infants and children can receive more than the recommended amount of vaccines given at a time without compromising the immune system’s ability to respond appropriately. You child’s immune system is much stronger than you think! For much more information on this very interesting topic please read my article: Can a Baby’s Immune System Handle More than One Vaccine at a Time?

To be fully immunized against these six diseases your child will need three doses over several years for complete protection. They would need boosters for these diseases with or without the combo, therefore the use of the six antigen combination vaccine significantly reduces the number of needle pokes in your child’s lifetime.

And just incase you’re wondering…the needle is no bigger than the typical vaccine needle. The vial just contains more antigens than it did before. The injection is same as always–into the muscle of the arm or thigh.

This vaccine is expected to be available in the United States sometime after 2020, so for now we wait. Vaxelis was approved, however, in the European Union (EU) by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in December 2015 and has been put to use with continued monitoring for safety.

Vaccination against these diseases is important. The six diseases Vaxelis protects against continue to infect children worldwide. For example, there have been between 15,000-50,000 cases of whooping cough since 2010.

In our world it’s so easy to move from country to country or from continent to continent. Vaccine-preventable diseases are only a plane ride away from entering your community. Don’t risk it. Many of these communicable diseases are deadly, especially to babies and children.


WebMD Article Reviewed by Neha Pathak, MD on December 28, 2018

Lee, Bruce Y. “How About 6 Vaccines in One? FDA Approves New Vaccine From Sanofi, Merck.” Forbes.com

Vaxelis, New Fully-liquid Peadiatric Hexavalent Vaccine Approved in the European Union.” Cision. Sanofi Pasteur MSD. 19 Feb, 2016.

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