Vaccines to Prevent Diphtheria: Tdap

To protect adolescents and adults from tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis, Tdap vaccine is given. This vaccine is meant for the children above 7 yeras of age who had not got DTaP.

December 5, 2017

Vaccines to Prevent Diphtheria: Tdap

It is important that children, especially infants and young children, receive recommended immunizations on time. Vaccines also protect teenagers and adults to keep them healthy throughout their lives.
Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis are serious diseases caused by bacteria. Diphtheria and pertussis can spreads easily from infected people where as tetanus enters the body through cuts or wounds.
Diphtheria causes a thick covering in the back of the throat which can lead to breathing problems, paralysis, heart failure, and even death.
Tetanus causes painful tightening of the muscles, usually all over the body which can lead to locking of the jaw. In this condition the patient cannot open his mouth or swallow. Tetanus can cause death very rarely.
Pertussis causes coughing spells so bad that it is hard for infants to eat, drink, or breathe. These spells can last for weeks which can lead to pneumonia, seizures, brain damage, and death.

Tdap Vaccine:

To protect adolescents and adults from tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis, Tdap vaccine is given. This vaccine is meant for the children above 7 yeras of age who had not got DTaP.
One dose of Tdap can be given at age 11 or 12.  People who did not get Tdap at that age should get it as soon as possible. Pregnant women should get a dose of Tdap during every pregnancy to protect the newborn from pertussis as infants are more prone to life-threatening complications from pertussis. Tdap may safely be given at the same time as other vaccines.

Things and condition taken to be consideration before taking DTaP vaccine:

  • If you 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. You should inform about any severe allergies that you had before to the person giving vaccine.
  • If you 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.

Before getting the vaccine speak 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 Barre Syndrome (GBS)
  • are not feeling well on the day the shot is scheduled

Risks from Tdap vaccine:

A vaccine can cause serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions. The risk are usually mild and go away on their own which include:

  • Pain where the shot was given
  • Redness or swelling where the shot was given
  • Headache, body aches
  • Tiredness
  • Mild fever
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach ache
  • Chills, sore joints
  • Swelling of the entire arm where the shot was given

Sometimes severe problems following Tdap could happen which are rare. These require medical attention as you will not be to able to perform usual activities because of this. These include:

  • Rash, swollen glands
  • Swelling, severe pain, bleeding, and redness in the arm where the shot was given

Problems that could happen after any vaccine:

  • Sometimes people faint after vaccination. Sitting or lying down for about 15 minutes can help prevent fainting. If you feel dizzy, have vision changes or ringing in the ears, speak to your doctor.
  • In some cases severe pain in the shoulder and difficulty moving the arm where a shot was given could happen.
  • A severe allergic reaction would happen within a few minutes to a few hours after the vaccination.
  • There is a very remote chance of a vaccine causing a serious injury or death. The safety of vaccines is always being monitored. You can get all the information from Vaccine Safety site.

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. If you have severe allergic reaction, very high fever, or behavior changes , call 9-1-1 or find the nearest hospital.
The reaction should be reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) through the VAERS website or by calling 1-800-822-7967. VAERS is only for reporting reactions. They do not give medical advice.
If you are injured by a vaccine, you can file a claim in  National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) by calling 1-800-338-2382 or visiting the VICP website to get the compensation.