New infant vaccine means fewer injections overall
5/5/2022 by Robert M. Jacobson, M.D.
Your care team has begun using the newly licensed Vaxelis vaccine that protects against:
- Tetanus, or lockjaw.
- Pertussis, or whooping cough.
- Haemophilus influenzae Type B.
- Hepatitis B.
This vaccine is due at routine infant visits at 2, 4 and 6 months of age. It replaces the Pentacel and Recombivax HB vaccines previously used at those visits that protected against diphtheria-tetanus acellular pertussis, inactivated poliovirus, Haemophilus influenza Type B, and hepatitis B. These vaccines were given as separate injections at 2, 4 and 6 months of age.
The new Vaxelis vaccine will mean two fewer injections for infants in the first six months of life.
Mayo Clinic will continue to give the birth dose of the hepatitis B vaccine on the first day of life. That's important because up to one-fifth of hepatitis B infections in the U.S. are from environmental exposures. That means they appear without a known source contact. They occur through everyday life and occur with contact in the environment. Screening mothers before birth misses some who are infected.
The Vaxelis vaccine will be used to catch up children through 59 months of age who are overdue for the vaccination doses at 2, 4 and 6 months of age. The Pentacel vaccine will continue to be used for the related fourth set of vaccines that are due and routinely given at 15 months of age.
Babies who have already received the two-month doses of the Pentacel and Recombivax HB vaccines can get the four- and six-month doses with the Vaxelis vaccine. Babies who have already received the two- and four-month doses of the Pentacel and Recombivax HB vaccines can get the six-month doses with the Vaxelis vaccine.
All Primary Care in Rochester and Kasson locations have been stocked with the new Vaxelis vaccines.
Robert M. Jacobson, M.D., is medical director of the Primary Care Immunization Program in Southeast Minnesota. He is a physician in Community Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine in Rochester.