Diptheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis (Tdap) Vaccine
The Tdap vaccine is a booster shot that protects teens and adults against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (commonly known as whooping cough).
The Tdap vaccine is a modern, safer version of an older vaccine that was known as DTP. DTP is no longer administered in the U.S. It is also important not to confuse Tdap with a similar vaccination called DTaP. DTaP is specifically for infants and children, whereas Tdap is for teens and adults.
More About This Vaccine
There are three main vaccinations that can be used to protect against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis.
- DTaP – protects against all three, and is recommended for infants and children
- Tdap – a booster for all three; recommended as a one-time booster for teens or adults
- Td – a booster for tetanus and diphtheria only; recommended every 10 years in adulthood
Individuals who may also need a dose of Td include:
- Pregnant women should consult their physician about getting a dose of Td.
- A person who has been cut or burned may need a dose of Td.
About Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis
Also referred to as Lockjaw, tetanus causes painful muscle spasms and stiffness. It can lead to tightening of muscles in the head, neck, and jaw, preventing a victim from opening their mouth, swallowing, or even breathing.
A diphtheria infection causes a thick membrane to cover the back of the throat making breathing and swallowing very difficult.
Also known as whooping cough, pertussis causes intense, painful coughing spells that can lead to pneumonia or even death.