6 vaccine-preventable diseases that can affect newborns

1) Diphtheria:- Diphtheria is a bacterial infection caused by Corynebacterium diphtheria. This infects the throat and upper airways where it produces a toxin affecting other organs. It may cause peripheral neuropathy or myocarditis.1

Symptoms of Diphtheria:

It can cause a thick white or greyish coating in the back of the nose or throat and makes it hard to breathe or swallow. 2

2) Tetanus:- It is also called “LOCKJAW” as it causes an individual's neck and jaw muscles to lock and makes it hard to open the mouth or swallow. Tetanus is caused by a bacteria called Clostridium tetani. 3

Symptoms of Tetanus: As per WHO, in neonatal tetanus, symptoms include muscle spasms, which are often preceded by the newborn’s inability to suck or breastfeed, and excessive crying. 4

3) Pertussis:- Contagious respiratory infection caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis is Pertussis5. It can cause uncontrollable & violent coughing which results in difficulty breathing. It is also known as “WHOOPING COUGH” and can affect all age groups. 6

Symptoms of Pertussis: It starts with a runny nose, mild cough, and a pause in breathing [apnea]. Children and babies may then develop more serious problems like coughing very hard, more frequently at night; gasping for breath after a coughing fit, and whooping sound by children. 7

4) Polio:- A disabling and life-threatening disease caused by the poliovirus. A child can suffer from paralysis if the virus infects the nervous system. 8

Symptoms of Polio: Most people who get infected with poliovirus do not have any symptoms. Some (25 people out of 100) may have flu-like symptoms, that last for about 2-5 days. 1 out of 200 people may have lifetime paralysis or weakness in their legs, arms, or both. 9

5) Hepatitis B:- It is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis-B virus [HBV] and can be preventable with vaccination. This diseases can cause fatigue, stomach pain, poor appetite, nausea, and jaundice. 10

Symptoms of Hepatitis B: Infants and young children usually show no symptoms. But hepatitis B causes tiredness; fever; dark urine; diarrhea; vomiting; pain in muscles, joints, and stomach. Approximately 90% of infected infants (i.e. children less than 1 year of age) will develop chronic infection. 11

6) Hib*:- Infection caused by H.influenzae type b is referred to as Hib disease. Hib can cause severe infections of both brain and spinal cord linings (meningitis) and the bloodstream.12

Symptoms of Hib*: Symptoms of Hib disease depend on which part of the body is affected. The most common type of Hib disease is meningitis [infection of the tissue covering the brain and spinal cord]. Hib disease can also cause throat swelling; pneumonia (lung infection), joint infection and skin infection. 13

One combination vaccine against multiple diseases

Getting multiple shots during multiple clinic visits can be painful for the newborns and can cause discomfort. If there is a delay during separate vaccination, newborns or infants can be left unprotected from deadly diseases. 

Researchers have developed several combination vaccines that provide protection against three to six of these deadly diseases. These combination vaccines can help in reducing the multiple clinic visits for multiple single vaccinations and the cost burden on parents in terms of multiple visits, also decreasing the discomfort in children. 

Other advantages of multiple vaccines combined in one shot

The biggest advantage of combination vaccines is they help simplify the immunization schedule. It reduces the anxiety levels in both parents and healthcare providers and reduces the occurrence of missed vaccinations. In conclusion, with fewer injection shots of combination vaccination children will get recommended vaccinations on time with fewer delays in disease protection. 15

If your baby is 0-2 month old, consult your Pediatrician about protection from 6 diseases with combination vaccination.


  1. https://www.who.int/immunization/diseases/diphtheria/en/

  2. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/diseases/diphtheria.html

  3. https://www.cdc.gov/tetanus/index.html

  4. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/tetanus

  5. https://www.who.int/health-topics/pertussis#tab=tab_1

  6. https://www.cdc.gov/pertussis/index.html

  7. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/diseases/pertussis.html

  8. https://www.cdc.gov/polio/what-is-polio/index.htm

  9. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/diseases/polio.html

  10. https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hbv/index.htm

  11. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/diseases/hepb.html

  12. https://www.cdc.gov/hi-disease/index.html

  13. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/diseases/hib.html

  14. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/why-vaccinate/combination-vaccines.html

  15. http://gskprotect.in/6diseasescombinationvaccination/index.html

*Hib – Haemophilus influenzae type b


Information appearing in this material is for general awareness only. Nothing contained in this material constitutes medical advice. Please consult your Pediatrician for any question or concern you may have regarding your condition. Issued in public interest by GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals Limited. Dr. Annie Besant Road, Worli, Mumbai 400 030, India. NP-IN-INH-OGM-200050, DOP July 2020