Vaccines

Pentacel: from aborted human fetal cell line MRC-5 (7/08)

PENTACEL: PARENTS, PHARMACISTS, & PHYSICIANS BEWARE. A July 17 article picked up by AP is touting Sanofi Pasteur's new Pentacel vaccine as a vaccine that will reduce the number of shots children receive.

In fact, this is not true for most children who are already being vaccinated with Glaxo SmithKline's Pediarix, another 5-in-1 vaccine that has been widely used in the US for over 5 years. 
 
The difference between the two is that Pentacel includes DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis), polio and HiB.  Pediarix includes DTaP, polio and hepatitis-B.  Either shot would require an additional 3 injections of either Hepatitis-B or HiB.  And while Pentacel is given in 4 doses; Pediarix requires only 3 doses.  Pentacel also requires reconstitution from 2 separate vials prior to administration, while Pediarix comes ready to be used, making it less cumbersome and safer to use.  Either vaccine can be given from 6wks of age to 18 mos.
 
But the greatest disparity between the two vaccines is that Pentacel uses aborted fetal cell line MRC-5 in its polio version, while Pediarix uses Vero cell lines, making it the vaccine of choice for prolife families and physicians. 
 
Sanofi chose to market their aborted fetal version in the US after Canadian Physicians for Life successfully lobbied Health Canada for access to the ethically produced version in 2006 and stopped using Pentacel. 
 
In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and the FDA withdrew the Sanofi "tainted" version of polio (Poliovax) from distribution in the US in early 2000.  The only separate dose of the polio vaccine (IPOL) that is given in the US uses Vero cell lines – not aborted fetal cell lines.  Clearly, the only reason for the ACIP recommendation of Pentacel appears to be a financial plug for Pentacel's lagging sales.  Concerned parents and physicians beware:.  Pediarix is the ethical version – and it does mean less shots for children.
[www.cogforlife.org, From ALL release 7/17/08:
http://blogs.wsj.com/health/2008/07/16/feds-consider-new-rule-on-abortions-and-emergency-contraception/; http://www.cogforlife.org/pentacel2.htm; PharmFacts E-News Update — 17 Jul 2008]