New acellular pertussis-containing paediatric combined vaccines

Vaccine. 1999 Mar 26;17(13-14):1650-6. doi: 10.1016/s0264-410x(98)00422-8.


Combined pediatric vaccines have the advantages of conferring protection against multiple common infectious diseases with a reduced number of injections. Their use should lead to better compliance to recommended vaccination schedules. Diphtheria (D), tetanus (T) and whole-cell pertussis vaccine (P) have been successfully combined, with or without inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) in the same syringe for many years. Recently developed acellular pertussis (aP) Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib), inactivated poliomyelitis virus and hepatitis B vaccines are ideal candidates for inclusion in current combined vaccines. Nevertheless, the development of new combinations has to face preclinical and clinical issues: the appropriate formulation of the new antigen(s) and other vaccine components needs to be determined to ensure compatibility and guard against potential additive or unexpected adverse reactions; potential immunological interference between antigens and the negative impact of other vaccine components on immunogenicity may occur, and these have to be examined also. Whole-cell pertussis vaccines are highly protective against whooping cough, but the severe adverse reactions that these vaccines sometimes produce have led to hesitation over their use, including the decision of some countries to stop pertussis immunization. To increase the acceptability of pertussis vaccination, Pasteur Mérieux Connaught has developed a combined D, T and a two-component acellular pertussis vaccine (DTaP), composed of purified pertussis toxoid (PT) and filamentous haemagglutinin (FHA), which has been shown to be effective in an efficacy trial conducted in Senegal. Acellular DTaP vaccines are immunogenic and have a better safety profile than DTP vaccines, when given either for the primary series, for the booster vaccination or for both. In order to meet worldwide demands, the combined DTaP-IPV or DTP-IPV has been developed for countries where IPV is recommended. Following the encouragement of the WHO, an H. influenzae type B tetanus-conjugated (Act-HIB) vaccine, has been combined in a full liquid formulation with the whole-cell DTP. This vaccine showed a good safety and immunogenicity profile in infants and in toddlers. A combined DTaP-IPV-PRP-T vaccine (where the Act-HIB vaccine is reconstituted by the full-liquid DTaP-IPV) also has been successfully developed both for the primary series and for booster vaccination; although, a reduced immunogenicity against PRP observed after the primary series, this did not affect vaccine priming. Hepatitis B immunization campaigns targeting high-risk groups have failed to control the disease in areas of low endemicity. In 1992, the WHO recommended that hepatitis B vaccination should be integrated into the EPI in all countries by 1997-1999. For that purpose, hepatitis B vaccine is currently evaluated in pediatric combined vaccines. Developing new combination vaccines is a difficult but essential process for maintaining high immunization rates worldwide against infectious diseases, provided that the costs are acceptable. New combined vaccines including pneumococcal and meningococcal component are under wide-scale development.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Hepatitis B Vaccines / immunology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Pertussis Vaccine / immunology*
  • Vaccines, Combined / immunology*
  • Vaccines, Conjugate / immunology


  • Hepatitis B Vaccines
  • Pertussis Vaccine
  • Vaccines, Combined
  • Vaccines, Conjugate