Increasing coverage while decreasing the number of shots
Pentavalent combines five different vaccines in a single vial to protect against five diseases: diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus (DTP), hepatitis B (hepB) and Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib).
A successor to the DTP vaccine, pentavalent vaccine was introduced to boost coverage of hepB and Hib vaccines by including them as part of routine immunisation.
Hib is a deadly bacterium which causes meningitis and pneumonia. It is considered the third biggest cause of vaccine-preventable death in children aged under five. It is estimated that there are three million cases of serious Hib infection annually, of which 400,000 result in childhood death.
The majority of survivors suffer paralysis, deafness, mental retardation and learning disabilities.
In developing countries, where the vast majority of Hib deaths occur, it accounts for a larger number of deaths than meningitis and leaves up to 35 per cent of survivors with disabilities.
For more information, visit the GAVI website's Hib section>>
HepB is a viral infection that is more than 50 times more infectious than HIV and which claims 600,000 lives every year, through chronic or acute live infections.
Babies and young children are most at risk from hepB, with the virus often passing from mother to child before or shortly after birth, and putting victims at high risk of death from cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer in later life.
An estimated two billion people alive today are believed to have been infected with hepB, while 350 million people worldwide are chronically infected.
For more information, visit the GAVI website's hepB section>>
Three shots not nine
Offering hepB and Hib vaccines as part of a five-in-one conjugate pentavalent vaccine doesn’t just improve coverage, it also means that just three shots are needed instead of the usual nine to provide the same cover from separate vaccines (three each for DTP, hepB and Hib vaccines).
Other advantages include:
- widespread protection is achieved quickly and safely;
- shipping costs are lower;
- with fewer syringes to dispose of, environmental impact is reduced;
- fewer injections mean less distress for children and parents.