Single Vaccines vs Combos?

Updated on September 26, 2014
T.D. asks from Naples, FL
15 answers

I am currently looking for a pediatrician. I am not due til end of November so I have time to decide(already met a few). Some I have met their vaccine schedule seems very strict with no wiggle room(getting multiples per visit). I am not against vaccines I just would rather them be spaced out. Others I have met will space them out,but give only single shots(DTaP alone ect..vs Pentacel). In the end is there a difference in individual vs combo??

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answers from San Francisco on

With my children, we just kept to the schedule and did all the shots at a time. Way less crying involved ;-)

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answers from Norfolk on

You know, on a daily basis, we are exposed to thousands (more likely millions) of germs, substances, pollen, things in our environment and we'd have been extinct as a species a long time ago if our immune systems couldn't handle it.
I submit the idea that a vaccine that covers multiple things is less traumatic to our systems than what ever you are exposed to in your local playground, super market, mall escalator handle, school and/or daycare facility.
All it means is you get it over with in fewer shots/doctors office visits.

12 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

My advice is to get the shots on schedule. There is overwhelming scientific evidence that it is perfectly safe (as evidenced by the billions of people around the world who are fully vaccinated and have experienced no issues whatsoever). The earlier you can protect your baby against preventable diseases, the safer your baby will be. Do not let pseudoscience or people who tell you to "follow your gut" (really, you're going to entrust your baby's safety to some vague feeling rather than hard science? Uh, no) dissuade you from getting the best results for your child.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

ETA re Angela's response: Yes, a very small number of people experience adverse reactions to vaccines. But statistically, the benefits of vaccines far outweigh the risks.

And if/when Ebola makes it over here (it's only a plane ride away), it will be darkly amusing and gratifying to watch the anti-vaxers stampede into their doctor's offices for a vaccination. I just hope I get there first.

I hope and assume that an Ebola vaccine is currently being manufactured as quickly as possible. I am not being flippant about this.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

The issue of spacing out vaccines was also one of my concerns when my daughter was a newborn. In the end, I decided to have my daughter get the combo shots and chose not to space them out. In terms of effectiveness, there is no difference between individual vs. combo according to my pediatrician friend, but it will make a huge difference for your baby. You have to remember that it may be easier for the baby (and you too! since you have to be the one to see her cry and comfort her) to get the combo shots all at once so that she'll just have to go through it once instead of seven separate times, for instance. Separate shots mean she'll be seeing a doctor very frequently and will have to go through the pain (and potential side effects) frequently, too.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

There is no difference in individual vs combo.

Frankly, there is no scientific data to support single vs spacing out. However, if it makes you more comfortable to space them out, as long as your kiddo gets all of them within a reasonable schedule, then that would be just as effective as well.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Our pediatrician was fine with working on a different schedule for us. We were not the first to look at the list and go "woah". Some like the MMR are no longer offered as single doses. Some are offered alone. We did a lot of "nurse/tech" visits DD's first year or two to space them out. I am personally glad we did because she had 2 adverse reactions and we could pinpoint what they were much better because we knew what 1 or 3 vax were in that particular shot. So in my experience, it is mostly the number of visits, all other things being equal. Our goal was to meet our county's school requirements by the time DD entered school and some of the not mandatory boosters were done after she started school.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

No difference. Our pediatrician follows our lead but he said honestly the less you have to bring a baby to a germy doctor's office, then the better in his opinion. Besides watching my child get shots is a crummy experience and one I did not want to drag out. Rip off the band aid for me and my child is my motto. Friends who have done the extended schedule all wound up complaining about the protracted schedule, extra doctor's office trips and the cost in co-pays. Good luck and congratulations.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boca Raton on

I'm so hurt by that ebola vaccine comment below (and I normally love Rose's posts).

I believe (and I am *not* a health care provider of any type but I have seen many of them with my son) that my son was injured by his vaccines, one of which he received the day after he was born - the first in the HepB series (unlike his brother who is only three years older).

Many of us parents who worry about the vaccine schedule have actually followed the vaccine schedule with our children. That's how we know that things do not always go as planned by the CDC.

There is a $2B vaccine injury compensation fund for a reason. It is paid by a tax on each and every pediatric vaccine administered per the CDC schedule. It is not paid by the companies who make the vaccines. Hence one wonders what the incentive is for the companies to make the vaccines safer.

Whatever you do - do your own reading and get multiple opinions from multiple qualified experts.

Good luck and God bless.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Erie on

My oldest had severe reactions to his vaccinations (104+ fevers, little sleep for 48 hours, lots of pain at the injection site, refused nursing for 24 hours after injections), so we did a modified shot schedule for our other children. First, there were no vaccines given at birth, we started them between ages 1-2yrs. I breastfed until 3yo and none of them were in daycare, so their time around other people before the age of 2 was limited. Second, they got 1 shot per visit, because if they were going to have a reaction, I wanted to know which shot it was. Third, we declined a few of the vaccinations until the kids were older (Hep B was one, since they weren't in a risk group). Bringing them in multiple times to the doctors was never a problem, they were all spaced out properly - did you know the CDC has an alternate vaccination schedule on their site just for people like me who wanted to be more conservative about vaccinating their children? I found doctors who would work with me (I am NOT anti-vax, I am simply more concerned for my kids' well being because of what we went through with our oldest) and left a couple of practices because they wouldn't follow the schedule I wanted. You will be advocating for your children throughout their young lives, decide how you want to do this and find a doctor that agrees with you. Vaccination injuries do happen, even if they are rare. I simply was not comfortable with 2-5 shots at once, so I insisted on another (CDC approved) way.

eta (after reading the responses below me)
My kids don't fear seeing a doctor or getting a shot. It didn't cost us more. I don't get emotional or feel uncomfortable about vaccinations, I dealt with them matter-of-factly and so did the kids. Then we got ice cream.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

I would rather not have to make all those extra trips to separate and space them out. It won't be long before your child begins to fear going to the doctors because every single trip they get yet another injection. I have 3 children. All of them have gotten the combination vaccines when possible. They get a few at a time in a single visit. The office we go to does have a limit on how many at a time they can get, it's never overboard. We have never had any major problems and those that we have had have been minor like bruising at the injection site because they jerked or some tenderness for a day or two because of the vaccine itself.
We did skip the Hep B shot that was offered the day our third was born and picked up the series a little later in her life. It wasn't recommended at birth with the other 2. I thought that was a little too much.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

There is no scientific evidence it makes a difference. It is a toss up whether kids prefer going to the doctor more frequently but only having one shot per visit or just getting it all over with. We went with the standard vaccination schedule and happily DS has never cared about shots.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Most near us don't care how you space or order them so long as you are within or beyond the recommended dosing age. It's more co-pay in their pockets (assuming your insurance will cover the multiple doctors visits).

F. B.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Rochester on

From my personal experience: I was an adult when I had to get vaccines before traveling to Africa. In trying to save money, I got some of the shots from the school nurse where I taught and then planned to get the rest at the immunization clinic. Big mistake. I had to delay the shots from the clinic because there needed to be a specific amount of time in between the immunizations. I ended up having to make multiple trips to the clinic. I had slight reactions to all of the immunizations (slight fever, muscle soreness). I ended up with almost a week of feeling crappy instead if just one or two. Two years later when I had to get additional vaccines before traveling to Honduras I got them all at once. It was a much better experience. I never thought twice about doing my kids' vaccines all at one. Just get it over with.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

I got all the kids shots on the schedule. It's just easier for the schools to follow them later on and you don't have to go repeat some shots because they didn't show up with the others at that time and stuff like that. Hundreds of thousands if not millions of kids get their shots all in one visit and they're find. Very very very few have even a fever after getting them.

If you really want to space them out then find a doc that will do that but please consider just getting them done all at once in shot a single visit.

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