After the introduction of effective Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) conjugate vaccines, clinical practice has driven the development of combination vaccines comprising Hib conjugates with the infant diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP) vaccines. However, when such combinations contain an acellular pertussis component (Pa), the antibody response to Hib is lower than that with separate injections and doubts have been raised about their efficacy. We believe that such concerns are unwarranted, since the serological correlates of efficacy previously applied for Hib polysaccharide vaccines seem inappropriate for Hib conjugates. Furthermore, our own studies have shown that the lower antibody responses are not associated with impaired function of the antibodies induced, nor, and possibly more importantly, with the induction of immune memory against Hib. Therefore, with the proviso that careful clinical surveillance of Hib disease is maintained, we encourage the introduction of DTPa-Hib combinations to facilitate the inclusion of Hib into the already crowded childhood immunisation schedule.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Medicine