A six-in-one pediatric combination vaccine including diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and acellular pertussis, inactivated poliovirus, Haemophilus B conjugate and hepatitis B launched in the United States on June 1 after being developed by Sanofi and Merck.
Vaxelis is given to children from 6 weeks through 4 years of age, up until their fifth birthday, and is given as three shots: one at 2 months, one at 4 months and one at 6 months of age.
“As the first six-in-one vaccine in the U.S., Vaxelis is now available to help protect infants and children against diseases caused by six infectious agents. We are proud to offer this vaccine to health care professionals and the patients they serve,” said Elaine O’Hara, head of Sanofi Pasteur Commercial Operations North America, in a prepared statement. “Studies have shown that combination vaccines may help reduce the shot burden and improve coverage rates and timeliness.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee included Vaxelis as a combination vaccine option on Feb. 11 in the CDC’s recommended child and adolescent immunization schedule.
“Given the potential to reduce the number of shots by as many as three in the first six months of life, as compared to pentavalent vaccines plus hepatitis B or Haemophilus influenza type b vaccines, Vaxelis represents an important option for healthcare professionals and parents,” said Merck Senior Vice President of U.S. Vaccines Joanne Monahan in a prepared statement.
“Merck and Sanofi have been in contact with the major insurers and the appropriate pricing publications to notify them of the availability of Vaxelis, and we look forward to working with payers and providers to deliver this novel hexavalent vaccine to help protect age-appropriate children,” said Monahan. “This news should also help to remind providers and parents of the importance of continuing routine vaccinations and recommended well visits.”
The most common side effects of Vaxelis are pain, redness, or swelling where the shot was given, fever (100.4°F or higher), crying more than usual, eating less than usual, fussy more than usual, sleepy more than usual, and throwing up.d