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FDA approves new children's vaccine for six diseases

TODAY logo TODAY 12/27/2018
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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Sanofi's new pediatric vaccine immunizing children against six diseases, the French pharmaceutical lab said on Wednesday.

Sanofi developed the new vaccine, dubbed Vaxelis, in partnership with Merck.

Vaxelis is designed for children ages 6 weeks to 4 years old and is designed to keep them from contracting diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, poliomyelitis, hepatitis B, and invasive disease due to haemophilus influenzae type B, or Hib.

Sanofi and Merck are working on the production and supply of Vaxelis, aiming to make it available on the market in 2020 or later.

The new vaccine covers six of the 14 preventable diseases the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends children be immunized against. Most American children are getting the full series of vaccines, but more parents are refusing to immunize their children, according to recent reports. The schedule is complicated and because many of the vaccines require multiple doses, it can require multiple visits to the pediatrician by age 3. The recommended vaccines for children include those that protect against:

Hepatitis B

A disease spread by body fluids and blood. The vaccine is given as a series of three shots. It's generally the first shot given to babies, within 24 hours after birth.

Measles

Measles is the most infectious virus known. It's spread through droplets from sneezes and coughs.

Pneumococcal disease

An infection that can cause ear and sinus infections, pneumonia and even meningitis. Doctors recommend four doses of the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, beginning at 2 months.

Polio

A paralyzing infectious disease that has been eliminated in the U.S. because of the vaccine. Doctors recommend four doses of the polio vaccine for best protection, beginning at 2 months.

Rotavirus

An infection that can cause severe diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain and fever. Beginning at 2 months, children should get two or three doses, depending on the vaccine, according to the CDC.

TODAY.com senior health editor Jane Weaver contributed to this report.

Related Video: ‘Incredible Hulk’ Lou Ferrigno Says He Was Hospitalized After Vaccine (Provided by Inside Edition)

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