Pentacel Warnings and Precautions
There are many precautions and warnings with Pentacel to be aware of before getting your child vaccinated. The vaccine may not be safe for children with bleeding disorders or who are taking anticoagulant medications. In addition, your child should not receive Pentacel if he or she has a progressive neurological disorder or has had a serious reaction to pertussis-containing vaccines in the past.
What Should I Tell My Child's Healthcare Provider Before Getting Pentacel?
You should talk to a healthcare provider before your child receives Pentacel® (DTaP, inactivated polio vaccine, and Hib vaccine) if your child has:
- A moderate or severe illness
- An immune-suppressing condition such as HIV or AIDS, diabetes, or cancer
- A bleeding disorder
- Had any sort of a reaction to any vaccine in the past
- A brain or nervous system disorder
- Any allergies, including allergies to foods, dyes, or preservatives.
Make sure to tell the healthcare provider about any medications your child is taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Specific Pentacel Warnings and Precautions
Warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to getting this vaccine include the following:
- Make sure your healthcare provider knows if your child has ever had any serious reactions to any vaccines in the past.
- Care must be taken when giving any intramuscular injection (including Pentacel) to individuals with bleeding disorders or who are taking anticoagulant medications, also known as "blood thinners" (see Pentacel Drug Interactions). In some cases, your child's healthcare provider may decide that the risk of the injection is not worth the benefit.
- Febrile seizures (seizures associated with high fevers in young children) have been rarely associated with vaccines, including Pentacel. If your child has a tendency to get febrile seizures, ask your healthcare provider if you should give an anti-fever medication such as acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®) to your child to help avoid this problem.
- Your child can receive Pentacel if he or she has a mild illness (such as the common cold). However, it is usually best to postpone the vaccine in the case of a moderate or severe illness.
- If your child has an immune-suppressing condition, Pentacel may not be as effective as usual for disease prevention.
- Pentacel does not contain thimerosal (a mercury-containing preservative). Parents who are concerned about exposing their children to thimerosal can be confident that this vaccine has no thimerosal (not even trace amounts). Some parents are concerned about aluminum content of vaccines; Pentacel does contain aluminum (0.33 mg per dose).
- Some parents are concerned about the use of human or animal components in vaccines. Part of this vaccine is grown in a cell line derived from an aborted human fetus. This cell line is grown using calf serum.
- Pentacel is considered a pregnancy Category C medication. This means it is unknown if it is safe for use during pregnancy. However, this is a childhood vaccine and should not be given to pregnant women.
- At this time, it is unknown if Pentacel passes through breast milk. However, this is a childhood vaccine and should not be given to breastfeeding women.