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Your Child's Immunizations: Diphtheria, Tetanus & Pertussis Vaccine (DTaP)

Lea este articulo en EspanolThe diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTaP) vaccine protects against:

Immunization Schedule

DTaP immunizations are given as a series of five injections, usually administered at ages:

After the initial series of immunizations, a vaccine called Tdap (the booster shot) should be given at ages 11 to 12, or to older teens and adults who haven't yet received a booster with pertussis coverage. Then, Td (tetanus and diphtheria) boosters are recommended every 10 years. Pregnant women should also get the Tdap vaccine in the second half of each pregnancy, even if they've been vaccinated in the past.

Why the Vaccine Is Recommended

Use of the DTaP vaccine has virtually eliminated diphtheria and tetanus in childhood and has markedly reduced the number of pertussis cases.

Possible Risks

The vaccine frequently causes mild side effects: fever; mild crankiness; tiredness; loss of appetite; and tenderness, redness, or swelling in the area where the shot was given.

Rarely, a child may have a seizure or cry uncontrollably after getting the vaccine. But these sorts of side effects are so rare that researchers question whether they're even caused by the vaccine. Most kids have a few minor or no side effects.

When to Delay or Avoid Immunization

Your doctor might decide to just give a partial vaccine or no vaccine, or may determine that the benefits of vaccinating your child outweigh the potential risks.

Caring for Your Child After Immunization

Your child may experience fever, soreness, and some swelling and redness in the area where the shot was given. Depending on your child's age, pain and fever may be treated with acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Check with your doctor to see if you can give either medication, and to find out the appropriate dose.

A warm, damp cloth or a heating pad also can help reduce soreness. Moving or using the limb that has received the injection often reduces the soreness.

When to Call the Doctor

Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date reviewed: February 2014

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Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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