DTaP/IPV/Hib (5-in-1) vaccination
The DTaP/IPV/Hib vaccine protects babies against five different diseases:
- diphtheria (D)
- tetanus (T)
- pertussis (whooping cough) (aP is the acellular pertussis vaccine)
- polio (IPV is inactivated polio vaccine)
- Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b)
It is also known as the 5-in-1 vaccine.
The DTaP/IPV/Hib vaccine does not contain mercury (thiomersal).
Who should have it
The combined DTaP/IPV/Hib is the first in a course of vaccines offered to babies to protect them against these five diseases. The vaccine is offered when babies are two, three and four months old (see When it is needed).
How effective is this vaccine?
The DTaP/IPV/Hib produces very effective immunity (resistance) to diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, Hib and polio infections.
Before being granted a licence, the safety, quality and effectiveness of all medicines, including vaccines, is thoroughly tested. However, as with other medicines, vaccines can have side effects in some people.
See DTaP/IPV/Hib - side effects for more information.
When the DTaP/IPV/Hib vaccination is offered
The DTaP/IPV/Hib vaccine is the first in a course of vaccines offered to babies. The vaccine is injected into the thigh muscle when your baby is 8 weeks old, and is given again when they are 12 and 16 weeks.
Three doses are needed to make sure your baby develops strong immunity against the diseases. Every time another dose of the vaccine is given, the body's immune response increases.
It is important that your baby is vaccinated at the right age to make sure that they are protected as early as possible from serious disease.
But it is never too late to have your child vaccinated. Even if your child has missed a vaccination and is older than the recommended age, contact your local surgery to arrange for your child to be vaccinated.
Who should not have it
There are very few babies who cannot have this vaccine.
The vaccine should not be given to babies who have had an anaphylactic reaction (severe allergic reaction) to a previous dose of the vaccine, or a reaction to any part of the vaccine that may be present in trace amounts, such as neomycin, streptomycin or polymixin B.
Minor illnesses without fever, such as a cough or cold, are not reasons to postpone vaccination.
If your child is ill with a fever, you should delay vaccination until they have recovered. This is to avoid wrongly associating any progression of their illness with the vaccine.
If your child has a history of febrile convulsions (fits) or has suffered a fit within 72 hours of a previous dose of the vaccine, speak to your GP, nurse or health visitor. They will advise you about what to do.
The DTaP/IPV/Hib vaccine can be safely given at the same time as any other vaccine, including the meningococcal C conjugate (MenC), measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) and hepatitis B vaccines. However, each vaccine should be injected into a different site.
Side effects of the DTaP/IPV/Hib vaccine
Your baby may experience any of the following side effects after receiving the vaccine.
Very common reactions
More than 1 baby in 10 having the vaccine experiences the following:
- pain, redness and swelling at the injection site
- irritability and increased crying
- being off colour or having a fever
Between 1 baby in 10 and 1 baby in 100 having the vaccine experiences the following:
- loss of appetite
Between 1 baby in 1,000 and 1 baby in 10,000 having the vaccine experiences the following:
- febrile convulsions (fits)
Very rare reactions
Less than 1 baby in 10,000 having the vaccine experiences the following:
- high fever (more than 40.5°C)
- unusual high-pitched or inconsolable crying
If your baby has a fit, call your GP or an ambulance immediately. Babies usually recover from fits quickly. Remember that babies can have fits at any time, but they are rare in the first six months and are most common in the second year of life. If a child has a fit after vaccination, it is not necessarily linked to the vaccine.
As with all vaccines, there is an extremely rare possibility (less than one in 100,000) of DTaP/IPV/Hib causing anaphylaxis (a severe allergic reaction). However, all vaccination staff are trained to deal with anaphylactic reactions, and children recover completely with treatment.
If you are concerned about how your child reacted to a previous dose of the DTaP/IPV/Hib vaccine, talk to your GP, nurse or health visitor.
Frequently asked questions
Who should have the vaccination?
The DTaP/IPV/Hib vaccination is recommended for babies when they are 8, 12 and 16 weeks old.
How is the vaccine given?
The vaccine is injected into your baby's thigh.
What is diphtheria?
Diphtheria is a serious bacterial disease that usually begins with a sore throat and can quickly develop to cause severe breathing problems (see the Health A-Z topic about diphtheria). It can damage the heart and nervous system, and can be fatal. Diphtheria can spread through close contact with an infected person.
What is tetanus?
Tetanus is a painful disease that affects the muscles and can cause breathing problems (see the Health A-Z topic about tetanus). It is caused by bacteria that are found in soil and manure, which can get into the body through open cuts or burns. Tetanus can kill.
What is pertussis (whooping cough)?
Whooping cough is a disease that can cause spells of severe coughing and choking, making it hard to breathe (see the Health A-Z topic about whooping cough). It lasts for up to 10 weeks. It is not usually serious in older children, but it can be very serious or fatal in babies under one year old.
What is polio?
Polio is a virus that attacks the nervous system and can permanently paralyse the muscles in the arms and legs (see the Health A-Z topic about polio). If it affects the chest muscles, it can kill.
What is Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)?
The Hib bacteria can cause a number of serious diseases, including epiglottitis (a severe form of croup) or meningitis.
Can this vaccine be given with other vaccines?
Yes, DTaP/IPV/Hib may be given at the same time as the meningococcal C conjugate (MenC) and hepatitis B vaccines, but should be injected in a different site.
Can a child's body cope with so many vaccines at once?
Every day, small children have contact with thousands of germs. They pick them up off the floor or in the garden when crawling or toddling about. They get them off toys that have been shared or in their toy box. Their skin (if you looked at it under a microscope) is covered in thousands of germs: some good, some bad.
Babies and toddlers routinely shrug off the threat that these germs may pose. Their immune system is designed to do this. Far from overloading them, vaccines help their immune system to build up extra resistance. This means they are better protected against potentially serious diseases.
How safe is this vaccine?
Before a vaccine can be licensed for use, it has to go through many tests to check that it is safe and that it works. These checks continue even after a vaccine has been introduced. Only vaccines that pass all of the safety tests are used to protect your children.
Visit the Vaccine safety page for more information on how vaccines are tested.
What are the most common side effects of the vaccination?
Your child may get pain, redness and swelling at the injection site. They might be more irritable and feel slightly unwell (see DTaP/IPV/Hib - side effects for more information).
How soon after the vaccination can I take my baby swimming?
You can take your baby swimming at any time, both before and after they have been vaccinated.