COSMO Health Center

After-hours care T. 770-446-0929/Fax 770-446-6977

After-hours care
T. 770-446-0929 / Fax 770-446-6977

Preventive Care


Vaccines to Prevent Tetanus

  • DTaP: Pediatric Diphtheria, Tetanus, and acellular Pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine (Spanish)
  • DT: Pediatric Diphtheria and Tetanus vaccine
  • Td: Older children and adults Tetanus and diphtheria vaccine (Spanish)
  • Tdap: Older children and adults Tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine (Spanish)

Playing outdoors can mean getting cuts that may become infected with bacteria commonly found in soil, including the ones that cause tetanus. Tetanus vaccine can help prevent tetanus disease, commonly known as "lockjaw." Tetanus (lockjaw) is a serious disease that causes painful tightening of the muscles, usually all over the body. It can lead to "locking" of the jaw so the victim cannot open his mouth or swallow. Tetanus leads to death in about one in ten cases.

There are four combination vaccines used to prevent diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (whooping cough): DTaP, Tdap, DT, and Td. Two of these (DTaP and DT) are given to children younger than seven years of age, and two (Tdap and Td) are given to older children and adults. Talk to your provider if you are unsure which vaccines you or your children have received in the past.

DTaP or DT

For Infants and Children

  • Children should get five doses of diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and acellular pertussis (DTaP) vaccine, one dose at each of the following ages:
    • 2 months
    • 4 months
    • 6 months
    • 15 through 18 months
    • 4 through 6 years of age
  • DT does not contain pertussis, and is used as a substitute for DTaP for children who cannot tolerate pertussis vaccine.
  • DTaP vaccine may be given at the same visit as other vaccines.
  • DTaP is not licensed for anyone over the age of six. Children older than six, adolescents, and adults may get a similar vaccine, Tdap or Td.

Td or Tdap

For Adolescents and Adults

  • Td is a tetanus-diphtheria vaccine given to adolescents and adults as a booster shot every ten years, or after an exposure to tetanus under some circumstances.
  • Tdap is similar to Td but also containing protection against pertussis. Tdap should be given as a one-time booster in place of Td. Tdap is especially important for those in close contact with infants.
  • Adolescents 11 through 18 years of age (preferably at age 11-12 years) and adults 19 years of age and older should receive a single dose of Tdap.
  • Tdap should also be given to 7- through 10-year-olds who are not fully immunized against pertussis.
  • Pregnant women should receive a dose of Tdap during each pregnancy, preferably at 27 through 36 weeks to maximize that amount of protective antibodies passed to the baby, but the vaccine can be safely given at any time during pregnancy.
  • New mothers who have never gotten Tdap should get a dose as soon as possible after delivery.
  • Tdap can be given no matter when Td (tetanus-diphtheria vaccine) was last received.

Note: Upper-case letters in these vaccine abbreviations denote full-strength doses of diphtheria (D) and tetanus (T) toxoids and pertussis (P) vaccine. Lower-case “d” and “p” denote reduced doses of diphtheria and pertussis used in the adolescent/adult-formulations. The “a” in DTaP and Tdap stands for “acellular,” meaning that the pertussis component contains only a part of the pertussis organism.

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Source Agency: Health and Human Services (HHS)
Captured Date: 2015-04-01 14:00:45.0