Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, and Hib vaccine

At one time, diphtheria, pertussis, polio and Hib diseases were common in Canada and tetanus caused about 50 deaths per year. Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b) was once the most common cause of bacterial meningitis and a leading cause of other serious invasive infections in young children before the introduction of Hib vaccine.

  • With the introduction of vaccines, many lives have been saved.

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About the DTaP-IPV-Hib vaccine

Who should receive the DTaP-IPV-Hib vaccine?

Children should receive this vaccine beginning at 2 months of age to help protect them against these diseases as early in life as possible.

DTaP-IPV-Hib (Diphtheria, Tetanus, acellular Pertussis, Polio and Hib) is a combination vaccine given in one needle. It is the best protection your child can have against these 5 diseases. Combination vaccines are very effective and do not cause more side effects than if given by separate needles. It is usually given at the same time as pneumococcal and meningococcal vaccines.

The DTaP-IPV-Hib vaccine is given in a “series” to help build strong immunity to these diseases. Children receive doses at:

  • 2 months
  • 4 months
  • 6 months
  • 18 months
  • 4–6 years (except Hib)

Protection is best if your child has the entire series at the recommended ages. But it is never too late to start. Boosters of tetanus and diphtheria are recommended every 10 years.

Is the DTaP-IPV-Hib vaccine safe?

Yes, this vaccine is safe. Your child cannot get the diseases from the vaccine. In Canada, vaccines must undergo laboratory and field-testing and pass a rigorous licensing procedure with the federal government before they are introduced. Once a vaccine is approved, every lot is tested for safety and quality. In addition, side effects are continuously monitored.

What if your child is allergic to latex or thimerosal?

Your child may still receive this vaccine because thimerosal and latex are not in the DTaP-IPV-Hib vaccine or its packaging.

What are the side effects of the DTaP-IPV-Hib vaccine?

There can be side effects with the DTaP-IPV-Hib vaccine. For a day or two, some children may:

  • Have a slight fever
  • Be irritable
  • Have redness, swelling and soreness in the area where the needle was given (there may be slightly more redness or swelling with the fourth and/or fifth dose of this vaccine)
  • Get a small painless lump where the needle was given (usually disappears in less than 2 months).

If your child experiences reactions more severe than described above, please call your local public health office.

As with any immunization, unexpected or unusual side effects can occur. Severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) are rare, occurring at a rate of about two reports per 1,000,000 doses of vaccines distributed.

What should you do if your child has a reaction to the vaccine?

  • For pain or swelling where the needle was given, apply a cool moist towel to the area for about 15 minutes. Repeat as needed.
  • Use acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol® or Tempra®) if your child has pain or a fever (temperature over 38C or 100.4F). Note: Aspirin® (ASA) is not recommended for persons under 18 years of age because of the increased risk of Reye’s syndrome.
  • Call your local public health unit or doctor if you have questions or if your child has an unusual reaction to the vaccine.

Talk to a public health nurse or your child’s doctor before getting this vaccine, if the child:

  • Is sick now with something more serious than a cold or has a fever greater than 38.5C (101.3F), or
  • Has severe allergies to any part of the vaccine, or
  • Is severely allergic to any foods, drugs, bee stings, etc., or
  • Has a weakened immune system (immune compromised).

Your child should NOT get the vaccine if he/she has had a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to this vaccine in the past.