BACKGROUND: Three hexavalent vaccines against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, poliomyelitis, hepatitis B virus (HBV), and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) are licensed in Europe: Infanrix hexa (DT3aP-HBV-IPV/Hib), Hexyon (DT2aP-HBV-IPV-Hib) and Vaxelis (DT5aP-HBV-IPV-Hib). METHODS: A systematic literature search was performed in various electronic databases to identify published peer-reviewed head-to-head studies comparing any licensed hexavalent vaccine to another. RESULTS: Predefined inclusion criteria were met by 12 articles. Individual studies concluded that the 3 hexavalent vaccines have acceptable safety profiles although some significant differences were observed in their reactogenicity profiles. The immunogenicity of DT2aP-HBV-IPV-Hib and DT5aP-HBV-IPV-Hib was non-inferior versus DT3aP-HBV-IPV/Hib. Some differences in immune responses to common antigens were observed, but their clinical relevance was not established. Anti-filamentous hemagglutinin (FHA) from pertussis and anti-polyribosylribitol phosphate (PRP) from Hib antibody concentrations tended to be higher, and anti-HBV and anti-pertussis toxin (PT) from pertussis antibody concentrations lower in DT2aP-HBV-IPV-Hib versus DT3aP-HBV-IPV/Hib vaccinees. Anti-PT and post-primary anti-PRP antibody concentrations tended to be higher, and anti-HBV, anti-FHA, anti-pertactin from pertussis and post-booster anti-PRP antibody concentrations lower in DT5aP-HBV-IPV-Hib versus DT3aP-HBV-IPV/Hib recipients. Slightly lower immune responses towards most vaccine antigens were observed with 2 + 1 versus 3 + 1 schedules post-primary vaccination, suggesting that 2 + 1 schedules should only be considered in countries with very high vaccination coverage. CONCLUSION: Although the licensed hexavalent vaccines are generally considered similar, analyses of immunogenicity data from head-to-head trials highlighted differences that could be related to differences in composition and formulation. In addition, the demonstrated non-inferiority of the immunogenicity of the more recent vaccines versus DT3aP-HBV-IPV/Hib does not allow a full bridging to similar efficacy, effectiveness and safety. The availability of DT3aP-HBV-IPV/Hib over > 20 years allowed to collect a wealth of data on its long-term immunogenicity, safety and effectiveness in clinical and post-marketing studies, and makes it a key pillar of pediatric immunization.

  • All age groups
  • Efficacy/effectiveness
  • Safety
  • Administration
  • Diphtheria
  • Tetanus
  • Pertussis
  • Hepatitis B
  • Poliomyelitis
  • Haemophilus influenzae type B