Hexavalent vaccine: what it is and when to do it

The hexavalent vaccine is a single vaccine that is generally administered within the first year of life and protects against diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis, poliomyelitis, hepatitis B and haemophilus influenzae type B


Hexavalent vaccine: see which diseases it prevents

Diphtheria is a serious infectious disease caused by a toxin produced by the bacterium Corynebacterium diphtheriae.

The toxin inhibits the cellular functions of the heart, nervous system and kidneys.

Transmission occurs through direct contact with a sick person or carrier or through indirect contact, although more rarely, with contaminated objects.

Tetanus is a non-contagious infectious disease caused by Clostridium tetani, a bacterium that is widespread in the environment and can easily enter the body through small wounds in contact with soil or dirty objects.

The toxin thus reaches the nervous system and can cause contractions and muscle spasms.

Acellular pertussis is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis.

It mainly affects children and is transmitted by droplets of saliva emitted by infected persons coughing, sneezing or talking.

In children under one year of age, whooping cough can be quite serious due to the onset of complications (apnoea crises, bronchopneumonia, convulsions, encephalitis).

Poliomyelitis is a serious infectious and contagious disease caused by the poliovirus, which affects the neural cells of the nervous system, resulting in paralysis, sometimes irreversible.

Transmission is faeco-oral: the virus passes through faeces, which can contaminate water, food, hands and through saliva droplets emitted by sick people or healthy carriers.

Hepatitis B is a contagious infectious disease caused by the Human hepatitis B Virus (HBV), which is transmitted by infected blood and biological fluids (blood, semen, breast milk, vaginal secretions).

The infection involves the liver and can cause acute, fulminant or chronic hepatitis.

Haemophilus influenzae type B is a widespread bacterium present in the nose and throat, responsible for major infections, especially in children under five years of age.

It is transmitted by direct contact, through droplets emitted by sick people or carriers.

What is included in the hexavalent vaccine?

The vaccine contains parts of all six germs and is able to protect against the six diseases.

It is administered intramuscularly in the anterolateral aspect of the thigh.

When should I get the hexavalent vaccine?

In Italy, the hexavalent vaccine is one of the compulsory vaccinations and is administered during the first year of life in three doses.

The whooping cough and haemophilus B components are not compulsory, so it is possible to refuse them by signing a consent form.

For haemophilus B and hepatitis B no further doses are necessary in the future.

For diphtheria, tetanus, polio and whooping cough there is a booster (reinforcement dose) at around 5-6 years of age.

Another (reduced) dose is then recommended in adolescence.

In adults, a booster dose of Diphtheria, Tetanus and Whooping Cough is recommended every ten years.

Side effects of the hexavalent vaccine

The hexavalent vaccine is well tolerated.

Within 48 hours of administration, redness, swelling, swelling at the injection site or fever may occur.

As with all vaccines, allergic reactions, even severe ones, may occur. However, this is rare.

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