Monday, July 11th, 2011

Do You Know about Combination Vaccines

vaccinesVaccines are effective in preventing and controlling diseases. And the fact that there are new-generation super vaccines that combine multiple vaccines into a single shot makes life easier for parents and relatively pain free for children. A combination vaccine is a vaccine that consists of 2 or more separate immunogens (elements that produce an immune response from the body) physically combined into a single product. Combination vaccines aim to prevent multiple diseases or 1 disease caused by different types of the same organism.

Combination shots

1.  The MMR vaccine is a mixture of three live attenuated or weakened viruses, administered via injection for immunization against measles, mumps and rubella. It is generally administered to children around the age of one year, with a second dose before starting school (i.e. age 4/5).

2. DPT is a mixture of three vaccines to immunize against diptheria, pertussis (whooping cough) and tetanus. These three diseases are threats to children’s health. The milder version of the vaccine is Dtap in which “aP” refers to “acellular pertussis”. The acellular form is considered safer and contains far fewer antigens than the older preparation. Hence there is increased tolerance to the vaccine and less pain and swelling.
3.  Twinrix is a vaccine for both hepatitis A and hepatitis B. It combines two FDA-approved vaccines—Havrix, for hepatitis A, and Engerix-B, for hepatitis B. It protects individuals against diseases caused by hepatitis A and hepatitis B viruses.
4. Pneumococcal vaccine. Medical experts believe that pneumococcal bacterium is one of the most lethal forms of bacterial infection in early infancy it is also the highest cause of death in infants causing illnesses like pneumonia, meningitis, sinusitis and blood ear infection. Meningitis is a terrible bacterial infection often resulting in brain damage, loss of hearing and sight. The vaccine called Prevnar covers seven lethal strains of pneumococal bacteria and is given between the 1st and 6th month of birth, at intervals of 4-6 weeks, divided into 3 injections. The cost of injection is Rs. 4000 each.

5. The flu shot, or the vaccine for influenza has been recently introduced in Indian market. It provides protection against pharyngitis, pneumonia as well as viral influenza. Each shot costs Rs 500, and two shots are required.
6. The latest in the combination vaccine is a single shot that provides protection against five deadly diseases namely: Diphtheria,Tetanus, Acellular Pertussis, Hepatitis B, Inactivated Poliovirus Vaccine. At home turf Shanta Biotechnics has launched ‘Shantetra’, a four-in-one combination vaccine that will fight diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and hepatitis-B.

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