Pentacel Vaccine

Elliot had a well visit last week where I learned that in the last couple of years they’ve combined the DTaP, HIB, and Polio (IPV) vaccinations and created a vaccine called Pentacel. Basically, they’ve combined five vaccinations together, which is great! Now, babies need three shots instead of nine.

I am very pro-vaccination. This isn’t about deciding if I’m going to vaccinate Elliot. The question is whether or not I’ll give him HIB, IPV and DTaP separately as I had with Emory. And, yes, it does seem a bit excessive now that there’s this combination. I mean, why wouldn’t someone opt for three shots instead of 9?

All that said, to all you fine folks who have children less than 2 years of age: did your little ones receive the Pentacel vaccine? Did the injection site ache? Any fevers to report? Did you even know they changed things? Did you just go with it? (Which is what friends of mine have said.)

Again: I am NOT not going to give him his vaccinations. I’m about as pro-vaccine as they come. But I do want to know a bit more about this relatively new combined vaccination, so please share whatever stories you may have.


  1. Like you, I am also very pro-vaccination. My daughter is 17 months, and has had the Pentacel vaccinations. She never seemed to have any fevers or excess fussiness after her shots. I did notice that she would have a welt/lump (for lack of a better discription) at the injection site for a few days, but it didn’t seem to bother her. But, that could have been caused by the muscle being punctured/injured by the needle and not the vaccination itself. Now, I don’t have any older kids to compare how the reactions would have been if they were given each vaccine seperately. So, my experience is solely based on the Pentacel. When I think about watching her get the shots, I’m glad for the fewer injections! I guess I didn’t think much about it and just went with what is recommended at our Pediatricians office.


    1. Thank you!! That’s what I want to hear. And, yes. Less is better. Our doc said that the DTaP can be super painful (burns?) and this one actually alleviates that pain. So that’s good news. I do trust her.

      I am happy to hear your daughter didn’t have any problems. I reckon my boy won’t either. You know how it is with these little people! Any pain and you’re like, I’M THE WORST PARENT EVER! :]

      Only now? My 3-year-old ASKS for vaccinations when we’re at the doctor. Insane!


  2. I have a 8 month old and I just go with what his dr. tells me as far as shots. For his last couple of appointments he recieved 2 shots and one oral vaccine. He has had no issue with the shots. At his 9 month appt I think he will get 2 shots again. Poor things. Your sons are very cute! I have 2 boys as well!


  3. My 6 month old just had her 3rd round of shots two weeks ago. At each round of vaccinations, she has received 3 shots (including the Pentacel) and an oral dose of the rotavirus vaccine. She handled the shots really well each time. I nursed her immediately after her 2 month shots, so that really helped. She did sleep for 3 hours once we got home. You wouldn’t even know she had received any shots at her 4 month visit despite the fact that I had stopped nursing by then. The pacifier really helped with that visit. Now, after the last round of shots (6 months), she did develop a 101º fever, but not until the next morning, so I can’t say for sure if it was vaccination related. My eldest daughter is now 3 years old, and she received more shots at each visit, and she had a fever every time. So I would say the less shots the better. In most cases, those little bodies can handle a lot more than we think.

    Even after 3 kids, I am still admittedly nervous over vaccinations. I’m a parent, I freak out over everything. The only vaccination I have ever delayed is the MMR shot. I tend to wait until 15-18 months for that one and I have never been given a hard time over it.


  4. I have three little boys, and I have vaccinated all of them. My older boys had the shots seperately, but my youngest just had the combo vaccine last week. Obviously less needles pricks in a plus in my book. He didn’t even cry. I also noticed a fairly large welt/lump. It’s very hard and was warm and red. It’s not a hard little pea sized lump and it’s bruised. They told me to expect this. Other than that, there were zero side effects. He didn’t even have the fever most babies get with DTaP. Maybe it’s a fluke, but the combo seems to go over much easier than individual shots.


  5. Both of mine had the Pentacel. Boy slept more that day than usual, but that might have been the Tylenol I gave him before the appointment also, no lump. Girl jumped, so had a lump, took a little longer nap than usual, but overall = nothing to note. The injection site was warmish, but that could have been the fact that I kept putting my hand on it to see if it was warm…. :)


  6. not sure if i would jam it all into the tiny body all at once… i would keep it broken up i think. for the sake of their widdle wegs:)


  7. Easy breezy. No side effects. I, on the other hand, secretly do not mind if he cries because then he hugs me tight and buries his head into my neck as he sobs. I poke him with my sewing needles on a regular basis just to get extra awesome hugs.


    1. Dianne: awesome! Yeah, we’re gonna go ahead with it. Thank you, everyone!


  8. We were pre-Pentacel, but we did spread our vaccines out slightly and broke up the MMR vaccines with our oldest (only in large city practices with many patients do they stock the MMR components separately). Reputable medical journals showed that kids who receive the MMR components separately have fewer side effects, like Irritable Bowel Syndrome, etc.

    On the other hand, I asked if my kids could receive the rotavirus vaccine now, but the doctor said they have to be newborns. Darn! How I would love to have something to protect us from some of the horrible stomach bugs that lay everyone in the house low. Completely selfish motive here!

    My son has nut allergies, and I do believe that vaccines, while incredibly beneficial, may be part of the growing problem of allergies in the U.S. Our immune systems have so few invaders to fight off that they begin fighting off harmless proteins, like those in nuts and other foods.


  9. My six-month old has gotten two of them, but we spread them out so she gets the Prevnar in the off months because my pede says those two are the most likely to cause side effects (fussiness, etc). However, other than a little redness and swelling (very minor) at the injection site neither Pentacel nor Prevnar has bothered her in the least (though I do give her Tylenol at the time of the visit just in case).

    One thing, though–in The Vaccine Book, Dr Sears points out that the Pentacel shot has A LOT more aluminum than giving individually. That gave me some pause but I did some Googling and found out that most kids already get aluminum from breast milk and formula, so I decided it was probably OK, especially since we do spread the shots out just a little bit.


  10. Hmmmm I hadn’t heard about the aluminum information. But I assumed as much since they have to do this to keep bulk shots from going bad. I guess I’ll just make sure he wears my fancy, homemade deodorant when he gets to be that age!

    I kid. I haven’t the slightest idea what I’m talking about.


  11. My daughter (now 2) received the Pentacel vaccine. I was overcome with joy that she would be poked less – and my heart can’t handing watching that little girl in pain. I have a doctor that I trust and she assured us that it was safe – and we never experienced any problems. As the first commenter mentioned, she did have a bit of a swollen spot on her leg after she received it, but this was not the only time that this bump appeared – may just be how my little one reacts to shots (?). Once she was old enough, our doctor told us that a 1/2 dose of tylenol before the shots, and every 4 hours as needed the evening following would ease any fever/pain that she would endure after – and she was right! I wish you the best of luck, all this mom stuff is so hard, your boys are lucky to have a mom who cares so much for them!


  12. I am a little late with this info, but our second had the combined vaccine and did fine. No reactions that we could note, nor did her older brother with any of the individual components. Good luck with your decision. I am glad to hear how pro-vaccine you are, as am I, but as long as someone is well educated I support their decision to delay or use an alternate schedule.


  13. Interesting – my doctor told me that the combined shot would expose the baby to less aluminum overall? I read the Vaccine Book, but I haven’t slept through the night in months, so I don’t remember exactly.

    We are spreading out the vaccines because I think the recommended schedule is too aggressive. I can’t believe how many more shots kids get now the when I was a kid. An my concern is that they haven’t been tested together.

    My doctor agreed that the recommended schedule is too aggressive and he’s in favor of spreading things out. He recommended the combined shot, so I went with him. I think at the end of the day, you have to find a doctor you trust and go with it.

    All in all, Brooks was more traumatized by having his nasal congestion cleared than the shot. We massaged his leg afterwards to help it all disperse. He had some minor swelling and redness and he took a heck of a nap, but other than that, no change.

    Elliot has probably had his by now and I hope he took it like a champ!


  14. Came upon this while googling Pentacel. Just a heads up (we are not anti-vaccines, we just vaccinate on a different schedule): Since the book was published Dr. Sears has updated his info on Pentacel. The book contained wrong info,stating it had a whopping 1500+ mcg of aluminum in it. He even rectifies this information on his website (it actually has 300 some mcg’s in it, 5 times less), and suggests it as a good alternative. Hope that sets your mind at ‘ease’.


  15. My son had a pretty bad reaction at his 4 month (Pentacel, Prevnar, Rotavirus, and HepB). 102.9 temp and screaming like I have never heard before. Nothing could make him feel better. I called the after hours doc. They told me to give him Tylenol. I gave him a luke-warm bath, gave him Tylenol and finally he let me nurse him. I’d say the whole ordeal of non-stop crying lasted 2 hours. Also, he had a large red lump at the injection site and his entire leg was red. He recovered the next day – all smiles. But, this reaction really freaked me out. This time I’m separating the Pentacel from the other shots. I hope he doesn’t have such a bad reaction. He had the Prevnar yesterday and ran a fever of 101 today for a little while. Not looking forward to his next dose. I brought up my concern to his pediatrician. I don’t think they even carry the individual shots. I’m going to call around to different Pediatrician’s offices to see if they carry individual vaccines. If I find one that does, I’m going to switch. I want to keep my son on the schedule. But, I want to avoid Pentacel.


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