Tetanus + diphtheria + acellular pertussis, adult

What is the Tdap vaccine?
The Tdap vaccine protects against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough).

What are the benefits of this vaccine?
The Tdap vaccine protects against infection from tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough), which are serious and often fatal diseases.

Who should get this vaccine?
The Tdap vaccine is recommended for individuals between 14 and 16 years of age and once in adulthood. This is a booster dose for children immunized against these diseases at a younger age. The booster dose strengthens or boosts the immune system to give better protection against these diseases. It is also recommended for all pregnant women during each pregnancy, preferably between the 26th and the 32nd week.

What are the common reactions after the Tdap vaccine?
Common reactions to the vaccine may include soreness, redness and swelling in the arm where the vaccine was given. Headache, fatigue, muscle or joint soreness, and mild fever may also occur.

For more information on vaccine safety and possible side effects, visit the following Canadian Immunization Guides:

What is tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough)?
Tetanus: is a serious and often deadly disease caused by bacteria that live in dirt, dust and soil.

Diphtheria: is a contagious disease caused by bacteria that infects your nose, throat or skin.

Pertussis (whooping cough): is a highly contagious respiratory infection. Infection can lead to uncontrollable coughing and difficulty breathing. It is most severe in infants under the age of 1.

What are the symptoms of tetanus and diphtheria?
Tetanus: the toxin that is released into the body affects the nervous system, causing painful muscle spasms. The first symptom is usually spasm of the jaw muscles ("lockjaw") followed by the painful spasms of muscles in the face, neck, chest, abdomen, arms and legs.

Diphtheria: some individuals infected with diphtheria do not look or feel sick. Others have difficulty swallowing and develop a sore throat, fever and chills. People with diphtheria can also suffer from suffocation, paralysis, heart failure, coma; these may also cause death.

Pertussis (whooping cough): early symptoms are similar to that of the common cold, which include mild fever, coughing, a runny nose, and watery eyes. As the disease progresses, the coughing gets worse; problems with coughing can last from six to 12 weeks. Severe symptoms can include choking, vomiting, brain damage and death.

How is it spread?
Tetanus: most people think they can get tetanus from stepping on a rusty nail. While this is true, you can get tetanus just as easily from a small scrape or cut. You can get tetanus from any object that breaks open your skin while working in the garden or doing repairs to your home, or even an animal bite.

Diphtheria: is spread by direct contact with an infected person. You can also become infected through airborne droplets spread from the nose of throat of an infected person.

Pertussis (whooping cough): is spread by coughing or sneezing. You can be infected while in close contact with others or from sharing personal items or things like drinks or utensils.