2.2.3  Storage, dosage and schedule of pentavalent vaccine

Pentavalent vaccine comes in single-dose glass bottles called vials, which should be stored at between +2°C and +8°C. It should never be frozen, or allowed to become warmer than +8°C, as this will destroy its effectiveness.

If it is allowed to stand for a long time, fine particles settle to the bottom of the vial leaving a cloudy liquid above them. This is normal. Shake the vial to mix the vaccine with the liquid before using it.

Three doses of 0.5 ml each are given intramuscularly (IM, into the muscle) of the upper outer part of the left thigh, before injecting pneumococcal vaccine (PCV10) in the right thigh (see Section 2.3.1). The injections are given to infants at the age of 6, 10 and 14 weeks. If an infant misses a scheduled dose, give it as soon as possible and complete the series of three doses — there is no need to start the series of doses over again. Pentavalent vaccine is usually not given after 6 years of age because there is an increased risk of adverse reactions in older children.

The characteristics of immunization with pentavalent vaccine are summarised in Table 2.3.

Table 2.3  Summary of pentavalent immunization characteristics in the Ethiopian EPI.

Type of vaccineFive different antigens combined, including one inactivated whole-cell vaccine, two sub-unit vaccines (toxoids), one conjugate vaccine and one recombinant vaccine
Number of dosesThree (referred to as Penta1, Penta2 and Penta3)
ScheduleAt 6, 10 and 14 weeks of age
Booster (additional doses)None in males; boosters of tetanus toxoid vaccine are given to women of childbearing age
Contraindications Severe allergic reaction or encephalopathy to a previous pentavalent immunization (see Section 2.2.5)
Adverse eventsMild local reactions are common (see Section 2.2.5); rarely, injection-site abscess
Special precautionsUsually not given after six years of age because of the increased risk of serious adverse reactions
Dosage0.5 ml
Injection siteUpper outer left thigh. Injection sites are described in Study Session 4
Injection typeIntramuscular (IM). Types of injection are described in Study Session 4
StorageStore between +2°C and +8°C. Never freeze. Storage of vaccines is described in Study Session 6

2.2.2  The anti-bacterial components of pentavalent vaccine

2.2.4  Effectiveness of pentavalent vaccine