updated 6/14/2012 5:52:11 PM ET 2012-06-14T21:52:11

The first vaccine that protects children as young as six weeks against two potentially deadly bacterial infections has won approval from U.S. health regulators.

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The Food and Drug Administration approved Menhibrix, a combination vaccine for infants and babies that prevents meningococcal disease and haemophilus influenza. Those bacteria can cause potentially deadly illness, or lead to blindness, mental retardation and amputation.

The FDA said the diseases are difficult to spot because their symptoms are similar to the common cold.

The vaccine is given in a four-dose regimen beginning as early as six weeks of age. The fourth dose can be given as late as 18 months of age.

The vaccine is manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline PLC at facilities in Belgium.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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