News from the FDA/CDC

ACIP adds hexavalent vaccine to VFC program



The pediatric hexavalent vaccine (DTaP-[inactivated poliovirus] IPV-[hepatitis B] HepB-[Haemophilis influenzae type b] Hib) should be included as an option in the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program for the infant series at ages 2, 4, and 6 months, according to unanimous votes at a meeting of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

Closeup of vaccines and a needle copyright itsmejust/Thinkstock

The addition of the vaccine to the VFC program required no motions on the part of the committee, but involved separate votes on each component of the vaccine.

Combination vaccination has been associated with increased coverage and more likely completion of the full infant vaccine series, said Sara Oliver, MD, of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

The new vaccine is being developed jointly by Sanofi and Merck, and has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in children through age 4 years.

Dr. Oliver presented evidence that the safety profile of the combination vaccine is consistent with that of the component vaccines. In addition, “use of combination vaccines can reduce the number of injections patient receive and alleviate concern associated with the number of injections,” she said. However, “considerations should include provider assessment, patient preference, and the potential for adverse events.”

The vote does not make any changes to the current vaccination schedule, but adds the combination vaccine as an option in the VFC program, although it will not be available until 2021 in order to ensure sufficient supply, Dr. Oliver noted.

The combination vaccination work group considered whether the new vaccine should be preferentially recommended for American Indian and Alaskan Native populations, but they concluded that post–dose one immunogenicity data are needed before such a preferential recommendation can be made.

The ACIP members had no financial conflicts to disclose.

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