Pentavalent vaccine support

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With Gavi support, pentavalent vaccine is available in the 73 poorest countries in the world

Pentavalent South Sudan

Mother holding her child at South Sudan’s pentavalent vaccine launch. Credit: Gavi/2014/Mike Pflanz.

Pentavalent vaccine protects against five major infections in one shot: diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib).


In July 2014, South Sudan became the 73rd and final Gavi-supported country to introduce the five-in-one pentavalent vaccine, which was first launched in Guyana in 2001.

In 2000, fewer than 10% of low-income countries had introduced hepatitis B vaccine into their national immunisation schedules, while less than 5% had added the Hib vaccine.

Fifteen years later, our partners have exceeded one of the Vaccine Alliance’s objectives and achieved our goal to ensure all the world’s poorest countries have access to these life-saving vaccines as part of the pentavalent vaccine.

Pentavalent vaccine coverage in the 73 Gavi-supported countries increased from 1% in 2000 to 57% in 2014.

Increasing coverage while reducing the number of shots

Nurse prepares pentavalent vaccine Sierra Leone

Pentavalent combines five different vaccines in a single vial to protect against five diseases: diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus (DTP), hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib). 

A successor to the DTP vaccine, pentavalent vaccine was introduced to boost coverage of hepatitis B and Hib vaccines by including them as part of routine immunisation.


Hib is a deadly bacterium which causes meningitis, pneumonia and septicaemia. It is responsible for approximately 200,000 child deaths every year. The majority of survivors suffer paralysis, deafness, mental retardation and learning disabilities. 

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 which claims more than 700,000 lives every year through chronic and acute liver disease.

Babies and young children are most at risk from hepatitis B, with the virus often passing 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 >> 


Offering hepatitis B and Hib vaccines as part of a five-in-one pentavalent vaccine doesn’t just improve coverage. It also means that just three shots are needed – instead of the previous nine – to provide 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.

Ensuring secure and sustainable supplies of pentavalent vaccines at affordable prices

Penta Haiti 2012


Gavi has offered support for diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP), hepatitis B and Haemophilius influenzae type b (Hib) vaccines since the Vaccine Alliance was set up. But to address the historical low uptake of Hib in many countries, Gavi also began offering the pentavalent vaccine in 2001. 

The goal was to increase coverage by including Hib vaccine along with hepatitis B vaccine as part of routine immunisation. In 2012, Gavi decided to support hepatitis B and Hib vaccines only through the five-in-one pentavalent vaccine.

the public-private partnership model

The pentavalent success story reflects the strengths of Gavi’s public-private partnership model. UNICEF’s Supply Division has met demand for over one billion doses. WHO and UNICEF have helped countries make informed decisions about when and how to introduce the vaccine.

Industry has increased global production capacity from 20 to 400 million doses. Innovation in improved formulation and packaging of the five-in-one vaccine has significantly reduced the strain on immunisation cold chains.


Over the course of a decade Gavi and its partners have negotiated significant price reductions for pentavalent vaccines.

Using its significant buying power, Gavi has been able to provide incentives to manufacturers to lower their prices while encouraging new suppliers to enter the market, including those based in emerging markets. As a result, Gavi can now buy the pentavalent vaccine, which until recently cost more than US$ 30 per dose in the US public market, from as little as US$ 1.19 a dose.

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