A new vaccine, which is expected to be able to eliminate six of the 20 injections that babies receive before age two years, has received federal approval. Pediarix™ (GlaxoSmithKline) combines protection, into one injection, against five serious diseases—diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough (pertussis), hepatitis B, and polio.
The vaccine is to be given in a three-dose series to infants at two, four, and six months of age.
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Until now, children needed nine shots to protect them; with the new vaccine, they need only three. This approval represents a major breakthrough and should greatly reduce anxiety for both children and their parents.