The jury is out on whether or not the infant vaccine combo is beneficial.
It is unclear whether giving infants a combination vaccine for
diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis, hepatitis B, and Haemophilus influenzae
type B (DTP-HBV-HIB) protects them as effectively as separate DTP-HBV
and HIB vaccines, a review of published studies indicates.
Based on the pooled results of 18 studies, "We could not conclude
that the immune responses elicited by the combined vaccine were
different from, or equivalent to, the separate vaccines," the
researchers wrote in The Cochrane Library, a publication of The
Cochrane Collaboration, an international organization that evaluates
The World Health Organization recommends that routine infant
vaccination programs use the combined DTP-HBV-HIB vaccine, yet the
effectiveness and safety of adding the HIB vaccination to the DTP-HBV
vaccine, compared with separate administrations, has yet to be
systematically assessed, Dr. Edna Bar-On, of Rabin Medical Center in
Petah-Tiqva, Israel and colleagues note in their report.
Combined vaccines, if they work well, have multiple advantages, the
authors note, including fewer trips to the doctor, fewer painful shots,
and perhaps increased compliance. There's also a potential savings in
supplies, syringes and office staff time.
Using data from 18 studies involving more than 10,000 children,
Bar-On and her colleagues examined the use of the DTP-HBV-HIB vaccine
and the separate DTP-HBV and HIB vaccine, administered to infants aged
up to 2 years.
There was no difference between the combined vaccine and the separate vaccines regarding immune response, they report.
However, with the combined vaccine, there was some evidence of lower
immune responses for HIB and HBV, and more minor side effects such as
pain and redness at the injection site, although "these differences
rely mostly on one study each," the investigators caution.
"These results are therefore inconclusive," they note.
Dr. Samir Shah, of Children's Hospital of Pennsylvania, who was not
involved in the study, told the Health Behavior News Service: "Since
WHO has approved the regimen of a combination vaccine, it's not
unreasonable to use it if it facilitates administration and allows
(doctors) to cover more people with the vaccine."
"Ideally, what this study had hoped to address was whether the
incidence of these diseases changes when using the combined vaccine.
Unfortunately, none of the studies contained enough information to
address that primary outcome," Shah added.What is your opinion? Seperate or combo?