Medical Q&As

MMR - safe to give with DTP?

We have been sent vaccination approval forms for our 5 year old son to receive his DTP and MMR booster shots on the same day. Is this normal practice or is it a cost saving measure? Is there any additional risk in receiving both injections together (leaving aside the whole related debate on MMR injections that has been widely discussed)?

It is standard practice for children to receive DTP and MMR boosters at the same time. It is also a perfectly safe practice. Such vaccination provides protection against six infectious diseases including diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis or whooping cough, measles, mumps and rubella. This combination of vaccines contains a number of different antigens. An antigen is a chemical that stimulates the immune system to produce resistance to infectious agents such as viruses and bacteria. Parents sometimes worry that in giving these combined vaccines on the same occasion that the child’s immune system is being exposed to an excessive number of antigens. However, children are exposed to hundreds of antigens everyday and the amount of antigen contained in the combined vaccines is a very small addition to the overall antigen load. These other antigens are contained in the air we breathe and in the food and liquids we consume each day. My recommendation is that you proceed and allow your child to have the two combined vaccines as scheduled.