What is the 4 in 1 vaccine?

The 4 in 1 vaccine immunises against Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis (whooping cough) and Poliomyelitis (Polio). Children should be given vaccines protecting them from these diseases at 2, 4 and 6 month. A further booster shot should be given when children are between 4-5 years of age.

Diphtheria is an infection caused by the bacterium corynebacterium diphtheriae. Diphtheria causes a thick covering in the back of the throat. It can lead to difficulty in breathing, heart failure, paralysis and even death.


Diphtheria –

Tetanus is a painful, often fatal disease. Bacteria found in the soil or manure release a toxin and cause painful muscle spasms and lockjaw.  The effects spread causing convulsions, breathing difficulties and abnormal heart rhythms. The bacteria enters the body via soil or manure through open cuts or burns. Tetanus is not contagious and is obtained only from the environment.

The first symptoms of Tetanus are sever muscle spasms in the neck and jaw muscles (lockjaw). Difficulty in breathing and swallowing can develop. The disease lasts one to 4 weeks with death occurring in 10% of cases. The risk is greatest in the very young, which may lead to brain damage and over 60’s who may get limb fractures.


There are currently no blood tests available to diagnose tetanus. Treatment begins upon the appearance of symptoms and may include a tetanus antitoxin, intravenous antibiotics, antispasmodic drugs, and mechanical ventilation. There is no cure for tetanus.

Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious respiratory tract infection. It is caused by the bacterium bordetella pertussis. Pertussis is known for uncontrollable, violent coughing which often makes it hard to breathe.

This illness can effect people of all ages, but is particularly dangerous in infants less than one year old. Deaths associated with whooping cough are rare but most commonly occur in infants. That’s why it’s so important for pregnant women — and other people who will have close contact with an infant — to be vaccinated against whooping cough.


Poliomyelitis (polio) is a highly infectious viral disease, which mainly affects young children. The virus is transmitted by person-to-person spread mainly through the faecal-oral route or, less frequently, by contaminated water or food and multiplies in the intestine, from where it can invade the nervous system and can cause paralysis.

Initial symptoms of polio include fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, stiffness in the neck, and pain in the limbs. In a small proportion of cases, the disease causes paralysis, which is often permanent. There is no cure for polio, it can only be prevented by vaccination.

This is a scene in the emergency polio ward at Haynes Memorial Hospital in Boston, Ma., on Aug. 16, 1955. The city’s polio epidemic hit a high of 480 cases. The critical patients are lined up close together in iron lung respirators so that a team of doctors and nurses can give fast emergency treatment as needed. (AP Photo)