What you need to know:
- The vaccine has been approved by the board of Gavi, an international organisation that provides vaccines to low-income countries.
- According to a Unicef, the hexavalent vaccine is considered an ideal immunisation option.
A new six-in-one (hexavalent) vaccine will soon be added to the routine immunisation schedule in developing countries like Kenya.
The vaccine has been approved by the board of Gavi, an international organisation that provides vaccines to low-income countries.
If the government approves the new programme, the vaccine will be given to children to protect them against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenzae type B and poliomyelitis.
The polio vaccine portion of the core dose will include a unique component called inactivated polio vaccine (IPV), which was introduced in all 75 countries covered by Gavi in 2019.
According to a Unicef, the hexavalent vaccine is considered an ideal immunisation option.
“It places less pressure on the health system, requires fewer vaccination sessions, is expected to achieve higher coverage of IPV, and ultimately prevents the premature withdrawal of IPV from countries’ immunisation programmes,” it said.
It is now up to countries like Kenya to work within the timeline set by Gavi to apply for funding and eventually introduce these vaccines in their countries.
“The hexavalent vaccine is expected to help countries provide protection against all these diseases more efficiently and cost-effectively, and make a significant contribution to polio eradication efforts by expanding IPV coverage,” Gavi said in a statement.
“Gavi and Alliance partners will also provide support to countries currently administering pentavalent vaccine who wish to switch, and work with manufacturers to ensure the health of both the pentavalent and IPV markets,” it said.
The new vaccine will be administered as a three-dose series, and Unicef estimates that about 100 million doses will be needed worldwide by 2030.