2.2  Pentavalent vaccine

2.2.1  What is pentavalent vaccine?

A vaccine that contains five different antigens in one combined preparation is called a pentavalent vaccine (‘penta’ comes from the Greek word for five). You do not need to remember these details, but the pentavalent vaccine in common use in Ethiopia is a combination of one inactivated whole-cell vaccine (against pertussis bacteria), two sub-unit vaccines (the diphtheria and tetanus toxoids), one conjugate vaccine (against Haemophilus influenza type b bacteria) and one recombinant vaccine (against hepatitis B virus). Thus, the pentavalent vaccine used in Ethiopia in the EPI combines five different vaccines in one injection to protect against four bacterial diseases: diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and Haemophilus influenzae type b (often abbreviated to Hib), and one viral disease caused by hepatitis B viruses. It is a fully liquid vaccine, which comes in a single dose vial.

Sometimes you will see the pentavalent vaccine used in Ethiopia described as DPT-HepB-Hib vaccine. This is the term used in the IMNCI Module in this curriculum.

  • What is an inactivated antibacterial vaccine?

  • It consists of bacteria that have been killed so that they cannot cause the disease.

  • What is a toxoid?

  • It is a modified version of the toxin (harmful protein) produced by certain bacteria, including those causing diphtheria and tetanus. The toxoid is used in vaccines to immunize against the disease.

2.1.5  Who should not get BCG vaccine?

2.2.2  The anti-bacterial components of pentavalent vaccine