How Does Pediarix Work?
This vaccine contains several different components. It contains tetanus and diphtheria toxoids, pertussis and hepatitis B antigens, and an inactivated (killed) polio virus. None of the components of this vaccine are "live," meaning that Pediarix cannot cause diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis B, or polio. This is especially important for polio, since a different polio vaccine (the oral polio vaccine) can rarely actually cause polio.
Simply stated, the components of this vaccine work by "tricking" the body into thinking it has been exposed to these different infections. The body produces antibodies that will help fight the infections if future exposure occurs.
When and How to Get Your Child Vaccinated
Some general considerations include the following:
- This vaccine is typically given as three doses with six to eight weeks (preferably eight weeks) between doses. Ideally, the first dose is given at two months of age, although it can be given to newborns as young as six weeks old.
- If your child has already received doses of DTaP, a hepatitis vaccine, or a polio vaccine, a modified Pediarix dosing schedule (perhaps with fewer doses) may be recommended.
- This vaccine is injected into a muscle (intramuscularly), usually in the thigh. In older children, the upper arm can be used.
- Children can be vaccinated if they have a minor illness, such as the common cold. However, the vaccine should be postponed if your child is moderately or severely ill.
Pediarix Dosing Information
There is only one standard recommended dosage for this vaccine, although the exact vaccination schedule may vary, depending on which vaccines the child has previously received. Because the three recommended doses of Pediarix do not fully complete the recommended vaccine series for DTaP and polio, additional vaccinations (with the individual components, not this combination vaccine) may be recommended.
(Click Pediarix Dosage for more information.)