What does this vaccine help prevent?
This vaccine helps prevent:
- Diphtheria —which causes a sore throat with thick covering in the back of the throat
- Tetanus —which causes painful muscle tightening all over the body; also known as lockjaw
- Pertussis —which causes bad coughing spells that make it difficult for infants to eat, drink, and breathe; also known as whooping cough
What Is the Tdap Vaccine?
The Tdap vaccine contains diphtheria and tetanus toxoids, and acellular (small, purified pieces) pertussis germ.
It is given to children ≥ 7 years old, adolescents, and adults to protect against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis infections.
The vaccine is given as an injection, usually into the arm or thigh.
Who Should Get Vaccinated and When?
Tdap is routinely recommended for children aged 11 years or older, regardless of whether or not they completed the DTaP series. Tdap can also be given to:
- Children aged 7-10 years who have not been fully vaccinated
- Children (aged 11 years and older) and adults who did not get the Tdap should receive the vaccine followed by a tetanus and diphtheria (Td) booster every 10 years
- Adults who have never received Tdap
- Pregnant women (or adolescents) after 27-36 weeks gestation, for each pregnancy, even if they have received Tdap in the past
If you or your child has not been fully vaccinated against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis, talk to the doctor.
What Are the Risks Associated With the Pertussis Vaccine?
Most people tolerate the vaccines without any trouble. The most common side effects are:
- Pain, redness, or swelling at the injection site
- Mild fever
- Abdominal pain
Uncommon symptoms include:
- Fever over 102ºF
- Severe gastrointestinal problems
- Severe headache
Acetaminophen is sometimes given to reduce pain and fever that may occur after getting a vaccine. In infants, the medication may weaken the vaccine's effectiveness. However, in children at risk for seizures, a fever lowering medication may be important to take. Discuss the risks and benefits of taking acetaminophen with your doctor.
Who Should Not Get Vaccinated?
Most people should receive their vaccinations on schedule. However, individuals in w