Pentaxim (DTaP+Polio+Hib, Sanofi Pasteur, France)

Pentaxim is a new 5-in-1 combination vaccine.

It is indicated for active immunisation of infants from six weeks of age against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, poliomyelitis and invasive infections caused by Haemophilus influenzae type b (such as meningitis, septicaemia, cellulitis, arthritis, epiglottitis, pneumopathy and osteomyelitis). The vaccine contains acellular pertussis and inactivated polio vaccine, both of which have been found to be effective and have a better side effect profile.

Why get vaccinated?

Vaccine-preventable diseases are much less common than they used to be, thanks to vaccination. But they have not gone away. Outbreaks of some of these diseases still occur across the world. When fewer babies get vaccinated, more babies get sick. The vaccine prevents following diseases:

1. Diphtheria (the ‘D’ in DTaP vaccine)

• Signs and symptoms include a thick coating in the back of the throat that can make it hard to breathe.

• Diphtheria can lead to breathing problems, paralysis and heart failure.

- About 15,000 people died each year in the U.S. from diphtheria before there was a vaccine.

2. Tetanus (the ‘T’ in DTaP vaccine; also known as Lockjaw)

• Signs and symptoms include painful tightening of the muscles, usually all over the body.

• Tetanus can lead to stiffness of the jaw that can make it difficult to open the mouth or swallow.

- Tetanus kills about 1 person out of every 10 who get it.

3. Pertussis (the ‘P’ in DTaP vaccine, also known as Whooping Cough)

• Signs and symptoms include violent coughing spells that can make it hard for a baby to eat, drink, or breathe. These spells can last for several weeks.

• Pertussis can lead to pneumonia, seizures, brain damage, or death. Pertussis can be very dangerous in infants.

- Most pertussis deaths are in babies younger than 3 months of age.

4. Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b)

• Signs and symptoms can include fever, headache, stiff neck, cough, and shortness of breath. There might not be any signs or symptoms in mild cases.

• Hib can lead to meningitis (infection of the brain and spinal cord coverings); pneumonia; infections of the ears, sinuses, blood, joints, bones, and covering of the heart; brain damage; severe swelling of the throat, making it hard to breathe; and deafness.

- Children younger than 5 years of age are at greatest risk for Hib disease.

5. Polio • Signs and symptoms can include flu-like illness, or there may be no signs or symptoms at all.

• Polio can lead to permanent paralysis (can’t move an arm or leg, or sometimes can’t breathe) and death.

- In the 1950s, polio paralyzed more than 15,000 people every year in the U.S.

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