Background: The number of recommended immunizations during childhood has increased significantly over the years. Today, infants receive vaccines against 11 diseases in the first 2 years of life, and may receive as many as 5 injections at a single office visit. For a number of reasons, some injections may be deferred to a later visit, thus creating a missed opportunity for vaccination.
Objective: To review benefits of pediatric combination vaccines.
Results: Combination vaccines that protect against several diseases, such as the new DTaP-HepB-IPV (Diphtheria and Tetanus Toxoids and Acellular Pertussis Adsorbed, Hepatitis B [Recom-binant] and Inactivated Poliovirus Vaccine Combined) vaccine, can help to simplify the current immunization schedule. Other benefits of combination vaccines for parents and healthcare providers include decreased anxiety because of perceived reduction in pain for the infant, fewer missed opportunities to vaccinate, convenience, and decreased costs for the parent as a result of fewer office visits. Benefits of using combination vaccines in the office setting include reduced missed opportunities to vaccinate, storage of fewer vials, decreased risk of needle sticks as a result of handling fewer syringes, and potentially improved record keeping and tracking. Benefits of using combination vaccines in managed care include improved member satisfaction and lower costs because of fewer vaccine administration charges, and potentially fewer office visits.
Conclusions: Combination vaccines are an effective means of decreasing the number of injections and simplifying the immunization schedule, thus providing overall benefits to infants, parents, healthcare providers, office managers, and managed care administrators.