Everything Parents Need To Know About The New FDA Approved Vaccine, Vaxelis

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Image: iStock / Sasiistock

Well, this is some good news to start off the new year! When it comes to vaccines and vaccinating your kids, we are FIRMLY in the GET YOUR SHOTS camp. Decades and decades of medical research have proven vaccines to be safe and effective in protecting kids (and adults) from potentially life-threatening illnesses. The vast majority of babies, kids, and people can and should be vaccinated. Those who cannot get vaccinated rely on herd immunity. Which is threatened every single time someone opts out of getting their vaccines. Sure, no one likes to get a shot. But we imagine they’d like the measles or flu even less! Soon, parents will be able to knock out six shots in one. The FDA has approved a new vaccine called Vaxelis, and here’s what you need to know.

Vaxelis is a combination vaccine. It protects children from contracting 6 of the 14 diseases the FDA recommends being vaccinated against.

The new pediatric vaccine is manufactured by French pharmaceutical company Sanofi, in partnership with Merck. Vaxelis offers protection from six different diseases: diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, poliomyelitis, hepatitis B, and invasive disease due to haemophilus influenzae type B. Currently, there are vaccines for all six of the diseases, but there is no combo shot that covers them all. So Vaxelis means fewer shots and visits to the pediatrician, which is always a good thing. One shot for six vaccines? Yes, please.

Vaxelis was created and is approved for use on kids from six weeks to four years of age.

It’s recommended to be administered in three doses, starting at 8 weeks old. The next two doses are recommended at four and six months. A combo vaccine like this will likely change the recommended vaccine schedule. And while it’s not the only combo vaccine on the market (DTaP protects against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis), it’s the first to offer protection against six diseases. Theoretically, Vaxelis will eliminate the need to get the DTaP shot, since it protects against all three of the diseases that vaccine provides immunity against.

Now for the bad news: FDA approval is just the first step in getting this vaccine on the market. Sanofi says they are currently working on production and supply of Vaxelis. However, it likely won’t be available for use until 2020 or later. So while parents with babies and toddlers now won’t benefit from the new vaccine, if you’re planning on starting a family or having another child in the next couple of years, your baby will probably get the Vaxelis vaccine.

Medical science and advancement has done wonders to make us safer and keep us healthy. Vaxelis is definitely a step in the right direction for vaccinations.