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Tetanus-Diphtheria Vaccine

By

Margot L. Savoy

, MD, MPH, Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University

Last full review/revision Jun 2021| Content last modified Jun 2021
CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSONAL VERSION

Typically, the tetanus Tetanus Tetanus results from a toxin produced by the anaerobic bacteria Clostridium tetani. The toxin makes muscles contract involuntarily and become rigid. Tetanus usually develops after a wound or... read more bacteria enter the body through a wound and begin to grow and produce the toxin. The toxin causes severe muscle spasms and can be fatal. Therefore, vaccination is particularly important.

Diphtheria Diphtheria Diphtheria is a contagious, sometimes fatal infection of the upper respiratory tract caused by the gram-positive, rod-shaped bacteria (see figure How Bacteria Shape Up) Corynebacterium diphtheriae... read more Diphtheria usually causes inflammation of the throat and mucous membranes of the mouth. Also, the bacteria that cause diphtheria produce a toxin that can damage the heart, kidneys, and nervous system. Before routine vaccination became available, diphtheria was a leading cause of death in children.

For more information, see the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Td (Tetanus, Diphtheria) vaccine information statement.

Administration of Tetanus-Diphtheria Vaccine

A diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis Vaccine The diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis vaccine is a combination vaccine that protects against these three diseases: Diphtheria usually causes inflammation of the throat and mucous membranes... read more (DTaP) is typically given during childhood. This combination vaccine is given in five injections (at age 2, 4, 6, and 12 to 18 months and at age 4 to 6 years), followed by a booster (Tdap) that contains the same amount of tetanus vaccine but a smaller amount of diphtheria and pertussis vaccine. The booster is given at age 11 to 12 years. Because immunity against pertussis is decreasing, people over age 16 should receive the Tdap booster if they have not received it previously.

The tetanus-diphtheria (Td) or Tdap vaccine is given as a booster every 10 years after the Tdap booster is given at age 11 to 12 years. Also, people sometimes need to be vaccinated after an injury that breaks the skin.

Certain conditions may affect whether and when people are vaccinated (see also CDC: Who Should NOT Get Vaccinated With These Vaccines?). If people have a temporary illness, doctors usually wait to give the vaccine until the illness resolves.

Side Effects of Tetanus-Diphtheria Vaccine

Sometimes the injection site is sore, swollen, and red. Serious side effects are rare and include severe allergic reactions.

More Information

The following are some English-language resources that may be useful. Please note that THE MANUAL is not responsible for the content of these resources.

NOTE: This is the Consumer Version. DOCTORS: CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSONAL VERSION
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