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DTaP/IPV/Hib, DTaP/IPV and dTaP/IPV vaccines

DTaP/IPV/Hib is a 5-in-1 vaccine that is given to babies to develop immunity to five potentially deadly diseases: diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough (pertussis), polio and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib). DTaP/IPV (4-in-1) is a pre-school booster immunisation given to toddlers. Td/IPV is a booster immunisation given to adolescents for tetanus, diphtheria and polio.

Diphtheria is a respiratory disease that can cause breathing problems, paralysis, heart failure and death. It's highly contagious and is spread by coughing and sneezing.

Tetanus, or lockjaw, is caused by bacteria often found in the soil. Once it enters the body it releases a substance called a toxin that attacks the nervous system, causing muscle spasms and death if left untreated.

Pertussis, also highly contagious, causes coughing spasms so severe that in infants it makes it difficult to eat, drink or even breathe. It can lead to pneumonia, seizures, brain damage and death.

Polio is a mild condition in 99% of cases. However, it can cause paralysis and death. It causes very few symptoms and some people do not notice any symptoms. A mild case of polio usually causes flu-like symptoms, which may include sore throat, a high temperature of 38°C or higher, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and constipation.

Hib is a type of infection that can cause a number of other illnesses, such as blood poisoning, meningitis and pneumonia.

Before the vaccines were developed, these diseases were widespread. Vaccines protect the community by preventing the spread of disease from one person to the next, which even offers some protection to the unvaccinated. If people stopped getting vaccinated, the incidence of these five diseases would rapidly rise and thousands would become ill and perhaps even die.

What's the difference between the vaccines?

Each vaccine contains inactivated forms of the toxin produced by the bacteria that cause the diseases. Inactivated means the substance no longer produces disease, but does trigger the body to create antibodies that give it immunity against the toxins. DTaP/IPV/Hib is approved for use in babies. At about 12 – 13 months, a combined Hib and meningitis C vaccine is given. DTaP/IPV, which has a reduced dose of the diphtheria, pertussis and polio vaccines, is given to children at about three years. Td/IPV is given to adolescents between the ages of 13 and 18.

When should children be given these vaccines?

Children should receive the jabs according to the following schedule:

  • Three doses of the 5-in-1 at 2, 3, and 4 months
  • The Hib/ meningitis vaccine at 12-13 months
  • One dose of the 4-in-1 at 3 years and 4 months – 5 years of age
  • One dose of the 3-in-1 between 13-18 years

Are there any children who should not get the vaccines?

Children who are moderately or severely ill at the time they are scheduled to receive the vaccine should wait until they recover before getting it. Minor illnesses like a cold or low-grade temperature, however, should not prevent a child from receiving a dose of the vaccine.

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