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What You Need to Know
Why get vaccinated?
Tetanus, diphtheria, and
pertussis are very serious diseases. Tdap vaccine
can protect us from these diseases.Â\U00A0 And, Tdap vaccine given
to pregnant women can protect newborn babies against pertussis.
TETANUS (Lockjaw) is rare in the
United States today. It causes painful muscle tightening and
stiffness, usually all over the body.
- It can lead to tightening of muscles in the head and neck so
you canâ€™t open your mouth, swallow, or sometimes even breathe.
Tetanus kills about 1 out of 10 people who are infected even after
receiving the best medical care.
DIPHTHERIA is also rare in the United
States today. It can cause a thick coating to form in the back of
- It can lead to breathing problems, heart failure, paralysis,
PERTUSSIS (Whooping Cough) causes
severe coughing spells, which can cause difficulty breathing,
vomiting, and disturbed sleep.
- It can also lead to weight loss, incontinence, and rib
fractures. Up to 2 in 100 adolescents and 5 in 100 adults with
pertussis are hospitalized or have complications, which could
include pneumonia or death.
These diseases are caused by bacteria. Diphtheria and pertussis
are spread from person to person through secretions from coughing
or sneezing. Tetanus enters the body through cuts, scratches, or
Before vaccines, as many as 200,000 cases of diphtheria, 200,000
cases of pertussis, and hundreds of cases of tetanus, were reported
in the United States each year. Since vaccination began, reports of
cases for tetanus and diphtheria have dropped by about 99% and for
pertussis by about 80%.
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Tdap vaccine can protect adolescents and adults from tetanus,
diphtheria, and pertussis. One dose of Tdap is routinely given at
age 11 or 12.Â\U00A0 People who did not get Tdap at that
age should get it as soon as possible.
Tdap is especially important for health care professionals and
anyone having close contact with a baby younger than 12
Pregnant women should get a dose of Tdap during every
pregnancy, to protect the newborn from pertussis.Â\U00A0
Infants are most at risk for severe, life-threatening complications
Another vaccine, called Td, protects against tetanus and
diphtheria, but not pertussis. A Td booster should be given every
10 years. Tdap may be given as one of these boosters if you have
never gotten Tdap before.Â\U00A0 Tdap may also be given after a
severe cut or burn to prevent tetanus infection.
Your doctor or the person giving you the vaccine can give you
Tdap may safely be given at the same time as other vaccines.
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should not get this vaccine
- A person who has ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction
after a previous dose of any diphtheria, tetanus or pertussis
containing vaccine, OR has a severe allergy to any part of this
vaccine, should not get Tdap vaccine. Tell the person giving
the vaccine about any severe allergies.
- Anyone who had coma or long repeated seizures within 7 days
after a childhood dose of DTP or DTaP, or a previous dose of Tdap,
should not get Tdap, unless a cause other than the vaccine was
found.Â\U00A0 They can still get Td.
- Talk to your doctor if you:
- have seizures or another nervous system problem,
- had severe pain or swelling after any vaccine
containing diphtheria, tetanus or pertussis,
- ever had a condition called Guillain BarrÃ© Syndrome
- aren't feeling well on the day the shot is scheduled.
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With any medicine, including vaccines, there is a chance of side
effects. These are usually mild and go away on their own. Serious
reactions are also possible but are rare.
Most people who get Tdap vaccine do not have any problems with
Mild problems following Tdap:
(Did not interfere with activities)
- Pain where the shot was given (about 3 in 4 adolescents or 2 in
- Redness or swelling where the shot was given (about 1 person in
- Mild fever of at least 100.4Â°F (up to about 1 in 25
adolescents or 1 in 100 adults)
- Headache (about 3 or 4 people in 10)
- Tiredness (about 1 person in 3 or 4)
- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach ache (up to 1 in 4
adolescents or 1 in 10 adults)
- Chills,Â\U00A0sore joints (about 1 person in 10)
- Body aches (about 1 person in 3 or 4)
- Rash, swollen glands (uncommon)
Moderate problems following
(Interfered with activities, but did not require medical
- Pain where the shot was given (up to 1 in 5 or 6)
- Redness or swelling where the shot was given (up to about 1 in
16 adolescents or 1 in 12 adults)
- Fever over 102Â°F (about 1 in 100 adolescents or 1 in 250
- Headache (about 1 in 7 adolescents or 1 in 10 adults)
- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach ache (up to 1 or 3 people
- Swelling of the entire arm where the shot was given (up to
about 1 in 500).
Severe problems following Tdap:
(Unable to perform usual activities; required medical
- Swelling, severe pain, bleeding, and redness in the arm where
the shot was given (rare).
Problems that could happen after any
- People sometimes faint after a medical procedure, including
vaccination. Sitting or lying down for about 15 minutes can help
prevent fainting, and injuries caused by a fall. Tell your doctor
if you feel dizzy, or have vision changes or ringing in the
- Some people get severe pain in the shoulder and have difficulty
moving the arm where a shot was given. This happens very
- Any medication can cause a severe allergic reaction. Such
reactions from a vaccine are very rare, estimated at fewer than 1
in a million doses, and would happen within a few minutes to a few
hours after the vaccination.
As with any medicine, there is a very remote chance of a vaccine
causing a serious injury or death.
The safety of vaccines is always being monitored. For more
information, visit the Vaccine
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What if there is a
What should I look for?
- Look for anything that concerns you, such as signs of a severe
allergic reaction, very high fever, or unusual behavior.
- Signs of a severe allergic reaction can include hives, swelling
of the face and throat, difficulty breathing, a fast heartbeat,
dizziness, and weakness. These would usually start a few minutes to
a few hours after the vaccination.
What should I do?
- If you think it is a severe allergic reaction or other
emergency that canâ€™t wait, call 9-1-1 or get the person to the
nearest hospital. Otherwise, call your doctor.
- Afterward, the reaction should be reported to the Vaccine
Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). Your doctor might file this
report, or you can do it yourself through the VAERS website, or by calling
VAERS does not give medical advice.
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National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program
The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) is a
federal program that was created to compensate people who may have
been injured by certain vaccines.
Persons who believe they may have been injured by a vaccine can
learn about the program and about filing a claim by calling 1-800-338-2382 or visiting the VICP
website. There is a time limit to file a claim for
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How can I learn more?
- Ask your doctor. He or she can give you the vaccine package
insert or suggest other sources of information.
- Call your local or
state health department.
- Contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
Tdap Vaccine (2/24/2015)
42 U.S.C. Â§ 300aa-26
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