Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis can be very serious diseases, even for adolescents and adults. Tdap vaccine can protect us from these diseases.
TETANUS (Lockjaw) causes painful muscle tightening and stiffness, usually all over the body.
DIPHTHERIA can cause a thick coating to form in the back of the throat.
PERTUSSIS (Whooping Cough) causes severe coughing spells, which can cause difficulty breathing, vomiting and disturbed sleep.
These diseases are caused by bacteria. Diphtheria and pertussis are spread from person to person through coughing or sneezing. Tetanus enters the body through cuts, scratches, or wounds.
Before vaccines, the United States saw as many as 200,000 cases a year of diphtheria and pertussis, and hundreds of cases of tetanus. Since vaccination began, tetanus and diphtheria have dropped by about 99% and pertussis by about 80%.
Tdap vaccine can protect adolescents and adults from tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis. One dose of Tdap is routinely given at age 11 or 12. People who did not get Tdap at that age should get it as soon as possible.
Tdap is especially important for healthcare professionals and anyone having close contact with a baby younger than 12 months.
Pregnant women should get a dose of Tdap during every pregnancy, to protect the newborn from pertussis. Infants are most at risk for severe, life-threatening complications from pertussis.
A similar vaccine, called Td, protects from 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 not already gotten a dose. Tdap may also be given after a severe cut or burn to prevent tetanus infection.
Your doctor can give you more information.
Tdap may safely be given at the same time as other vaccines.
With any medicine, including vaccines, there is a chance of side effects. These are usually mild and go away on their own, but serious reactions are also possible.
Brief fainting spells can follow a vaccination, leading to injuries from falling. Sitting or lying down for about 15 minutes can help prevent these. Tell your doctor if you feel dizzy or light-headed, or have vision changes or ringing in the ears.
Mild problems following Tdap
(Did not interfere with activities)
Moderate problems following Tdap
(Interfered with activities, but did not require medical attention)
Severe problems following Tdap
(Unable to perform usual activities; required medical attention)
A severe allergic reaction could occur after any vaccine (estimated less than 1 in a million doses).
Look for anything that concerns you, such as signs of a severe allergic reaction, very high fever, or behavior changes.
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 start a few minutes to a few hours after the vaccination.
VAERS is only for reporting reactions. They do not give medical advice.
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.
Vaccine Information Statement (Interim)
Tdap Vaccine (5/1/2013)
42 U.S.C. § 300aa-26
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