Diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis booster vaccine (also known as Tdap) is a combination immunizing agent given by injection to protect against infections caused by diphtheria, tetanus (lockjaw), and pertussis (whooping cough). This vaccine is given to children 10 years of age and older, and to adults who have already been given this vaccine in the past. The vaccine will “boost” or increase the protection that the child or adult had from an earlier dose.
Diphtheria is a serious illness that can cause breathing difficulties, heart problems, nerve damage, pneumonia, and possibly death. The risk of serious complications and death is greater in very young children and in the elderly.
Tetanus (also known as lockjaw) is a serious illness that causes convulsions (seizures) and severe muscle spasms that can be strong enough to cause bone fractures of the spine. Tetanus causes death in 30 to 40 percent of cases.
Pertussis (also known as whooping cough) is a serious disease that causes severe spells of coughing that can interfere with breathing. Pertussis also can cause pneumonia, long-lasting bronchitis, seizures, brain damage, and death.
Children 10 years of age and older, and adults, may need an additional immunization called a booster against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis. Adults and teenagers should receive Tdap instead of the tetanus-diphtheria (Td) injection if it has been 10 years or more since their last tetanus-diphtheria vaccine. Tdap vaccine is recommended for adults who are in close contact with a baby who is less than a year old and for adults who work in the healthcare field.
Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis are serious diseases that can cause life-threatening illnesses. Although some serious side effects can occur after a dose of Tdap (usually from the pertussis vaccine part), this rarely happens. The chance of your child catching one of these diseases, and being permanently injured or dying as a result, is much greater than the chance of your child getting a serious side effect from the Tdap vaccine.
Crying for 3 or more hours
difficulty with breathing or swallowing
fever of 102.2 degrees F or more
headache (severe or continuing)
itching, especially of the feet or hands
low blood pressure
reddening of the skin, especially around the ears
sleepiness (unusual and continuing)
swelling of the eyes, face, or inside of the nose
unusual tiredness or weakness (sudden and severe)
vomiting (severe or continuing)
Incidence not known:
Blood in the urine
bloody or black, tarry stools
chest pain or discomfort
dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
flushed, dry skin
fruit-like breath odor
inability to move the arms and legs
large, flat, blue or purplish patches on the skin
large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or sex organs
loss of consciousness
muscle pain or spasm
painful knees and ankles
puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
redness and swelling on the skin, buttocks, legs, or ankles
sudden numbness and weakness in the arms and legs
tightness in the chest
unexplained weight loss
unusual tiredness or weakness
Some of the side effects that can occur with diphtheria toxoid / pertussis, acellular / tetanus toxoid may not need medical attention. As your body adjusts to the medicine during treatment these side effects may go away. Your health care professional may also be able to tell you about ways to reduce or prevent some of these side effects. If any of the following side effects continue, are bothersome or if you have any questions about them, check with your health care professional:
fever of 99.5 degrees F or more
redness, swelling, tenderness, pain, or a lump at the place of injection
Incidence not known:
burning, crawling, itching, numbness, prickling, "pins and needles", or tingling feelings
injection site bruising
muscle or joint pain
swollen, painful, or tender lymph glands in the neck, armpit, or groin
weakness of the muscles in the face
welts on the skin
(tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid and acellular pertussis vaccine) injection, suspension