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Vaccine. 2008 Dec 2;26(51):6608-13. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2008.09.037.

Vitamin A supplements are well tolerated with the pentavalent vaccine.

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Kintampo Health Research Centre, Ghana.


The Expanded Programme on Immunisation provides an opportunity to deliver vitamin A supplements to young infants in order to improve their vitamin A status. However, concerns have been raised about the safety of administering high dose vitamin A supplements to infants less than 6 months of age in developing countries. A randomized controlled trial was carried out by the Kintampo Health Research Centre to assess the safety and immunogenicity of administering 15 mg retinol equivalent (RE)1 vitamin A alongside the pentavalent "diphtheria-polio-tetanus-Haemophilus influenzae b-hepatitis B vaccine" at 6, 10 and 14 weeks of age. All mothers received a post-partum supplement of 120 mg RE vitamin A as per national policy. Mothers of infants who had been vaccinated were visited 24 h after vaccination to assess the side effects of the vaccine. They were also interviewed about adverse events which may have occurred in the past 4 weeks since the child was vaccinated. There were significantly fewer reports of illnesses and fever in infants who had been given vitamin A compared to infants in the control group. The pentavalent vaccine was found to be tolerable when administered with vitamin A according to the WHO/EPI schedule for infant immunisation at 6, 10 and 14 weeks. There were few complaints made by the mothers of the children which were not thought to be related to giving vitamin A with the vaccines. There were six deaths in the trial, five in the intervention group and one in the control RR 4.65 (0.55-39.5), p = 0.12. Due to the high point estimate of 4.65, we wish to urge caution in administering high doses of vitamin A to young infants with the pentavalent vaccine at 6, 10 and 14 weeks of age.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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