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Adults should continue to receive a booster dose of Td every ten years. Adults age 19-64 years who have never received Tdap should receive a single dose of Tdap to replace a single dose of Td so they can boost their resistance to pertussis as well. Adults who will be having close contact with an infant should receive Tdap vaccine even if they’ve recently received Td vaccine (see pertussis vaccine section for more information).
If someone experiences a deep or puncture wound, or a wound contaminated with dirt, an additional booster dose may be given if the last dose was more than five years ago. It is important to keep an up-to-date record of all immunizations so that repeat doses don’t become necessary. Although it is vital to be adequately protected against tetanus, receiving more doses than recommended can lead to increased local reactions, such as painful swelling of the arm.
Who recommends this vaccine?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), and the American College of Physicians (ACP) all recommend this vaccine.
How safe is this vaccine?
Most children have no serious reactions from the combined DTaP vaccine. The most common reactions are local reactions at the injection site, such as soreness, redness, and swelling, especially after the fifth dose. Other possible reactions may include fussiness, fever, loss of appetite, tiredness, and vomiting. The use of the more purified DTaP instead of DTP has decreased these reactions substantially.
For adults receiving Td vaccine, localized non-serious side effects are common (redness, soreness, etc.)
Who should NOT receive tetanus toxoid?
People who had a serious allergic reaction to a vaccine component or a prior dose of tetanus toxoid should not receive another.
Persons with a moderate or severe acute illness should postpone receiving the vaccine until they are improved. Most reactions to the combined DTaP vaccine are due to the pertussis component. Please see the “Pertussis” section for more information on possible precautions to the use of this vaccine.
Can the vaccine cause tetanus?
No. The vaccine is a toxoid, meaning it is a toxin that has been inactivated, and has demonstrated safety in numerous clinical trials.