B.C. babies get a break: Introduction of new infant vaccine means three fewer injections



    
    B.C. the first Canadian province to introduce Infanrix-Hexa(TM), a
    vaccine offered in 70 countries worldwide
    

    MISSISSAUGA, ON, Feb. 25 /CNW/ - British Columbia has become the first
province - and the first jurisdiction in North America - to offer a children's
vaccine called Infanrix-hexa(TM), that contains six immunizations in one,
resulting in three fewer needles in the overall B.C. infant vaccine schedule.
The switch to the vaccine, currently available in 70 countries worldwide, took
effect February 1.
    Infants in B.C. typically receive both an injection that immunizes them
against hepatitis B, and an injection that immunizes them against five other
diseases, at their two, four and six-month check-ups. Infanrix-hexa(TM)
replaces these two needles with a single injection that immunizes against all
six diseases: hepatitis B, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough),
polio and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib). The vaccination schedule for
all other visits will remain the same.
    "With a reduction in the number of injections that an infant receives at
each visit, it is expected that the number of families who follow the
provincial vaccination schedule will increase," says Dr. Todd Sorokan,
pediatrician and past president of the BC Pediatric Society. "Research shows
that combination vaccines improve the rates of vaccination coverage with
comparable side effects. This advance is a very important step forward in
improving vaccine uptake in B.C."
    The Canadian Immunization Guide recommends that infants be given all
vaccines on time.
    "In order to get the best possible protection, I always recommend
following the provincial vaccination schedule," says Dr. Sorokan.
    Detailed information for healthcare professionals about the new infant
vaccine schedule is available at www.immunizebc.ca.

    The importance of immunizing infants against hepatitis B

    There was a time when B.C. had more hepatitis B infections than any other
province. Today, it has the most comprehensive hepatitis B vaccination program
in the country as the only province to offer hepatitis B vaccinations to both
infants and adolescents. New Brunswick, PEI and the territories are the only
other regions to offer the vaccine to infants.
    Research suggests about one-third of chronic hepatitis B infections are
picked up during infancy and early childhood. Many of these early hepatitis B
infections can be prevented, and the overall incidence decreased, with the use
of the vaccine in infancy.(1)

    About INFANRIX-hexa(TM)

    INFANRIX-hexa(TM) was first commercialized in Germany in November 2000
and is sold in over 70 countries worldwide, including Australia, members of
the European Union and parts of South America. Worldwide, over 38.5 million
doses have been distributed to date and the vaccine is generally well
tolerated.

    About GlaxoSmithKline

    GlaxoSmithKline Inc. - one of the world's leading research-based
pharmaceutical, vaccine and health-care companies - is committed to improving
the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live
longer. In Canada, GlaxoSmithKline is a top 15 investor in research and
development, contributing more than $178 million in 2007 alone. GSK is
designated a Caring Company by Imagine Canada, and is recognized as one of the
50 best companies to work for in Canada.

    INFANRIX-hexa(TM) is a trademark of the GlaxoSmithKline group of
companies.

    
    -------------------------------------
    (1) Canadian Medical Association Journal. Hepatitis B immunization
        strategies: timing is everything. January 20, 2009; 180.
    





For further information:

For further information: or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Charles Muggeridge, Fleishman-Hillard Canada Inc, (416) 645-8192;
GlaxoSmithKline, Corporate Communications, (905) 819-3363


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