Combo vaccines: convenience or safety?

Doctors often prefer combination vaccines, which deliver multiple vaccinations in a single shot. For parents, this means fewer office visits.

But is this the best option for your child?

In 2011, employees of a major vaccine manufacturer published a paper that listed what they believe to be the benefits of combination vaccines:

  • allows incorporation of new vaccines into immunization schedules (sell more)
  • reduced administration and storage costs (cheaper for the doctor)
  • higher rates of compliance with complex vaccination schedules (sell more)

Clearly, none of these are benefits for you or your child. 

The authors even go so far to state that safety is not a benefit; in fact, it is the main challenge because it is safer to administer the vaccines separately

A personal example: ten years ago, while discussing our desire to space out individual vaccines, our pediatrician told us that the practice discontinued use of a combo vaccine (MMR + chicken pox) because it was causing significantly more high fevers and febrile seizures than the administration of those two vaccines separately. 

Ominously, the 2011 paper closes with an accurate prediction: “Continuing vaccine development will only increase the need for the use of combination vaccines, and the future development of larger combinations appears inevitable.” In December 2018, the FDA approved the very first 6-in-1 combination vaccine for babies.  

What can you do about this?

Step 1 – Decide if using combo vaccines is for you.  Use VaxCalc to inspect the combination vaccine ingredients and easily compare them to the individual vaccine ingredients. Frequently, the amounts are similar; but not always.  VaxCalc makes it easy to do this comparison.

Step 2 – Decide if the advantages of individual shots are for you:

  • Choose the vaccine brand with the least amount of objectionable ingredients
  • If your child experiences side effects after getting a combination vaccine, you won’t know which component vaccine was responsible; individual shots provide greater observation, monitoring and control
  • Individual vaccines let you create your own custom schedule (you might not view every disease as equally dangerous, might choose natural immunity over temporary vaccine-induced immunity, or might decline lifestyle vaccines such as Hep-B and HPV)

Step 3 – Call your doctor and ask for the brand names of the vaccines being offered.

Step 4 – Use VaxCalc to easily compare the vaccines your doctor is offering with the brands they are not; you might discover that you prefer a different brand.  For example, by choosing one DTaP brand over another, you can reduce the amount of aluminum by almost half. 

Step 5 – If your doctor does not carry what you want – request your preferred brand, and don’t take no for an answer.  This is just like grocery shopping and rejecting certain brands because of the ingredients listed on the label.  If your doctor won’t help you obtain the superior brand, it might be time to fire your doctor.   

Who is Most Qualified to Assess Risk?

More of us are waking up to realize that doctors and pediatricians are not qualified to assess risks of vaccines – especially the risks as they relate to you or your child.

YOU are the expert on what is best for your family.  VaxCalc empowers you with information and research that is not available anywhere else so that you can make informed vaccination decisions.