Convenience or safety

Common questions about combo vaccines are answered below in the FAQ section.

What are combo vaccines?

According to the CDC: Combination vaccines take two or more vaccines that could be given individually and put them into one shot.

Doctors often prefer combination vaccines, which deliver multiple vaccinations in a single shot. For parents, this means fewer office visits.

But is this the best option for your child?

Who really benefits?

In 2011, employees of a major vaccine manufacturer published a paper that listed what they believe to be the benefits of combination vaccines:

Clearly, none of these are benefits for you or your child.

Combo vaccines are less safe

The authors even go so far to state that safety is not a benefit; in fact, safety is the main challenge because it is safer to administer the vaccines separately.

A personal example: while discussing our desire to space out individual vaccines, our pediatrician told us that the practice discontinued use of a combo vaccine (MMR + chicken pox) because it was causing significantly more high fevers and febrile seizures than the administration of those two vaccines separately.

Ominously, the 2011 paper closes with an accurate prediction: “Continuing vaccine development will only increase the need for the use of combination vaccines, and the future development of larger combinations appears inevitable.” In December 2018, the FDA approved the very first 6-in-1 combination vaccine for babies.

Pretending that More is Less

You can begin to see why the vaccine industry is promoting combo-vaccines when you realize that before the age of 6, a fully vaccinated child will receive 50 doses of 14 vaccines in 36 shots. VaxCalc research has found that by age 6, a fully vaccinated child will receive multiple doses of at least 49 chemical/biological ingredients. Combo vaccines make this less visible to parents.

The increasing number of vaccines on the CDC's Vaccine Schedule for Children has led to more parents declining at least one vaccine. According to the National Vaccine Advisory Committee Vaccine Confidence Working Group: The percentage of parents who chose to limit the number of vaccinations received per visit increased from 19% in 2005 to 30% in 2009.

As more vaccines are added to the schedule, the CDC’s strategy is to rely on combination vaccines to increase compliance as more parents join the vaccine-hesitant middle ground of "accept some, refuse some."

How to protect your child?

At VaxCalc, we believe in the wise-use of technology and medicines, including vaccines. Our rule-of-thumb advice is to avoid combo-vaccines. But this isn’t always easy, especially if you are part of a large HMO like Kaiser.

If you want to work through the issue for yourself, or need to gather evidence to bring to your doctor, the following steps will help.

Step 1 – Decide if using combo vaccines is for you.

Use VaxCalc to inspect the combination vaccine ingredients and easily compare them to the individual vaccine ingredients. Frequently, the amounts are similar; but not always. VaxCalc makes it easy to do this comparison. If you create an account, after signing in the first thing you'll see is a short introductory video that demonstrates how VaxCalc works.

Step 2 – Decide if the advantages of individual shots are for you:

Step 3 – Call your doctor and ask for the brand names of the vaccines being offered.

Many doctor's offices won't like providing this information because they aren't used to parents acting like empowered consumers who are doing their due diligence research. This is where you will discover if your doctor and those she's hired are truly professional and compassionate, or if they just don't want to be bothered with important issues of safety and choice.

Step 4 – Compare vaccine brands.

You can use VaxCalc to easily compare the vaccines your doctor is offering with the brands they are not; you might discover that you prefer a different brand. For example, by choosing one DTaP brand over another, you can reduce the amount of aluminum by almost half.

Step 5 – Be empowered!

If your doctor does not carry what you want – request your preferred brand, and don’t take no for an answer. This is just like grocery shopping and rejecting certain brands because of the ingredients listed on the label. If your doctor won’t help you obtain the superior brand, it might be time to fire your doctor.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What was the first combination vaccine?

The first combo vaccine was created by the combination of individual diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis vaccines into a single product (DTP); this combined vaccine was first used in 1948.

Can you get DTaP or MMR vaccine separately?

According to the CDC, you cannot get separate vaccines for all of the diseases that MMR and DTaP protect against. The truth is that CDC doesn't want parents to have access to these individual vaccines because that would increase parental choice and likely reduce compliance. These individual vaccines used to be available in the U.S.