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ABSTRACT: An increasing number of new and improved vaccines to prevent childhood diseases are being introduced. Combination vaccines represent one solution to the problem of increased numbers of injections during single clinic visits. This statement provides general guidance on the use of combination vaccines and related issues and questions. To minimize the number of injections children receive, parenteral combination vaccines should be used, if licensed and indicated for the patient's age, instead of their equivalent component vaccines. Hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccines, in either monovalent or combination formulations from the same or different manufacturers, are interchangeable for sequential doses in the vaccination series. However, using acellular pertussis vaccine product(s) from the same manufacturer is preferable for at least the first three doses, until studies demonstrate the interchangeability of these vaccines. Immunization providers should stock sufficient types of combination and monovalent vaccines needed to vaccinate children against all diseases for which vaccines are recommended, but they need not stock all available types or brand-name products. When patients have already received the recommended vaccinations for some of the components in a combination vaccine, administering the extra antigen(s) in the combination is often permissible if doing so will reduce the number of injections required. To overcome recording errors and ambiguities in the names of vaccine combinations, improved systems are needed to enhance the convenience and accuracy of transferring vaccine-identifying information into medical records and immunization registries. Further scientific and programmatic research is needed on specific questions related to the use of combination vaccines.
Principles for Using Combination Vaccines - Editorials