Increasing coverage while reducing the number of shots
Pentavalent combines five different vaccines in a single vial. It protects against five diseases: diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), tetanus, hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib).
Pentavalent vaccine is a successor to the diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP) vaccine. It was introduced to boost coverage of hepatitis B and Hib vaccines by making them part of routine immunisation.
Hib is a deadly bacterium which can cause meningitis, pneumonia and septicaemia. It is responsible for approximately 200,000 child deaths every year.
In developing countries, where the vast majority of Hib deaths occur, the disease leaves up to 35% of survivors with disabilities.
For more information, visit the Gavi website's Hib section >>
Hepatitis B is a viral infection. For some people, it is an acute, or short-term, illness but for others it can become a long-term, chronic infection. It claims more than 680,000 lives every year through chronic and acute liver disease.
Babies and young children are most at risk from hepatitis B. The virus often passes from mother to child before or shortly after birth. This puts victims at high risk of death from cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer later in life.
An estimated 240 million people worldwide are chronically infected with hepatitis B.
For more information, visit the Gavi website's hepatitis B section >>
THREE SHOTS INSTEAD OF NINE
Offering hepatitis B and Hib vaccines as part of a five-in-one pentavalent vaccine does not only improve coverage. It also means that children only need three shots – instead of the previous nine – to get the same protection.
Other advantages include:
- widespread protection is achieved quickly and safely;
- shipping costs are lower;
- with fewer syringes to dispose of, environmental impact is reduced; and
- fewer injections mean less distress and inconvenience for children and parents.