Combined vaccines - numerous benefits, one decision!

Combined vaccines - numerous benefits, one decision!

Izabela Fengler MD
Paediatric Consultant

Vaccination is a difficult and stressful subject for children and parents alike.

What should be done to minimise the pain of our little patients and ensure comfort for his/her parents?

The answer is provided by the so-called combined vaccines, otherwise known as integrated vaccines.

They include a small number of specific, purified antigens, which are important for developing resistance. A significant advantage of five- and six-fold vaccinations is the fact that the anti-pertussis vaccine they include contains its cell-free component instead of entire bacterial cells. According to the specialists, this makes such a form of the vaccine safer for children and less likely to develop adverse post-vaccine reactions.

Six-valent vaccine (6in1) is an immunisation vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, poliomyelitis, type B Haemophilus influenzae, and hepatitis B. Adverse reactions following administration of combined vaccines are not more intense than after their administration in a single form (a separate vaccine against DTaP, a separate vaccine against Hib, a separate vaccine against poliomyelitis ds.). The ongoing clinical research does not reveal any cumulative effects of adverse reactions, which may occur when the vaccines are administered separately. Nor does it demonstrate any reductions in the efficacy of the individual components of the combined vaccine.

The advantage of using combined vaccines is the reduction in the number of injections administered, making the child feel less pain and stress and reducing the risk of infections during vaccinations.

The argument in favour of combined vaccines is the high safety profile of the vaccines based on the worldwide clinical research and the monitoring activities of the so-called adverse post vaccine reactions.

It is not true that preventive vaccination overload the immune system,because they introduce too many substances into the body, causing an immune reaction, i.e. the so-called antigens. It must be emphasised that a much higher number of antigens to that present in a vaccine can be found in nature and everyday life, and our immune system is under constant attack, yet copes with it.

The so-called preventive vaccination plan has been available in Poland for many years. It contains a list of obligatory (free-of-charge) and recommended (paid) vaccinations, and is updated every year.

When we count how many times a needle is inserted into a child’s body during the first two years of life, we get as many as 19. With combined vaccines, this number can be reduced even by half.

Are combined vaccines safe?

The safety of vaccines is ensured by a number of cooperating institutions: registration agencies, manufacturers, the institutions supervising the manufacturing process and controlling their quality, the institutions monitoring adverse post-vaccine reactions.Comprehensive assessment of the vaccine safety profile is conducted at each stage of its existence, starting from its development through to the monitoring of adverse post-vaccine reactions and the epidemiological research conducted. The key stage of safety assessment encompasses the vaccine registration process, when the results of the tests confirming their safety and efficacy along with the risk management plan are presented by the manufacturers to international institutions, such as the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for the European countries, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the United States, or to governmental organisations, such as the Office for Registration of Medicinal Products, Medical Devices, and Biocidal Products, during the procedure to grant the permission to use a given vaccine.

An important aspect of the vaccine safety assessment process includes the opinions, indications and research evaluations prepared by vaccine advisory groups. The organisations enjoying the greatest prestige and worldwide reach, which take care of vaccine safety, include the Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety (GACVS) appointed by the WHO in 1999.

In Poland, the available vaccinations include Hexacima and Infanrix hexa.

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