Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis Vaccine

(DTaP Vaccine)

What does this vaccine help prevent ?

This vaccine helps prevent:
  • Diphtheria —which causes a sore throat associated with a thick covering in the back of the throat
  • Tetanus — which causes painful muscle tightening all over the body (also known as lockjaw)
  • Pertussis — which causes bad coughing spells that make it difficult for infants to eat, drink, and breathe; also known as whooping cough

What Is the DTaP Vaccine?

The DTaP vaccine is composed of diptheria and tetnus toxoids that can create an antitoxin, and small pieces of killed (acellular) pertussis bacteria.

Who Should Get Vaccinated and When?


The DTaP vaccine is generally required before starting school. The regular immunization schedule is to give the vaccine at:
  • 2 months
  • 4 months
  • 6 months
  • 15-18 months
  • 4-6 years

Catch-Up Schedule

If you or your child has not been fully vaccinated for diptheria, tetanus, and pertussis, talk to the doctor.

What Are the Risks Associated With the Tetanus Vaccine?

Most people tolerate the tetanus-containing vaccines without any trouble. The most common side effects are pain, redness, or swelling at the injection site, mild fever, tiredness, nausea, or vomiting. Rarely, a fever of more than 105ºF and seizures may occur.Acetaminophen is sometimes given to reduce pain and fever that may occur after getting a vaccine. In infants, the medication may weaken the vaccine's effectiveness. However, in children at risk for seizures, a fever lowering medication may be important to take. Discuss the risks and benefits of taking acetaminophen with the doctor.

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