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Dtap, Tdap, And Td Vaccines In Children


DTaP, Tdap, and Td

are vaccines. DTaP and Tdap are shots given to protect your child from diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis. Td is the shot given to protect your child from tetanus and diphtheria. Diphtheria is a severe bacterial infection that causes a thick covering in the back of the mouth and throat. It spreads from person to person. Tetanus is a severe infection caused by bacteria found in dirt, manure, and dust. The bacteria enter the body through open skin, such as cuts and wounds. Tetanus may cause painful muscle spasms and lockjaw. Pertussis (whooping cough) causes periods of rapid coughing with no break. This makes it hard to eat, drink, or breathe. Pertussis spreads from person to person.

Call 911 if:

  • Your child has signs of a severe allergic reaction, such as trouble breathing, hives, or wheezing.
  • Your child begins to have seizures (staring or jerking).

Seek care immediately if:

  • Your child has a fever of 105º F (40.5º C).
  • Your child will not stop crying for 3 or more hours after getting the shot.
  • Your child's face is red or swollen.
  • Your child has hives that spread over his or her body.
  • Your child feels weak or dizzy.

Contact your child's healthcare provider if:

  • Your child has a headache, body aches, or joint pain.
  • Your child has nausea or diarrhea, or he or she is vomiting.
  • You have questions or concerns about the vaccine.

When the DTaP vaccine is given:

The DTaP vaccine is only given to children younger than 7 years, starting as early as 6 weeks. Children usually get 5 doses of the DTaP vaccine:

  • The first dose at 2 months
  • The second dose at 4 months
  • The third dose at 6 months
  • The fourth dose at 15 to 18 months
  • The fifth dose at 4 to 6 years

If your child misses a scheduled dose of the DTaP vaccine,

the next dose should be given as soon as possible. There is no need to give extra doses or start the entire series of the vaccine over.

When the Tdap vaccine is given:

  • A child 7 to 10 years gets 1 dose if he or she has not been fully vaccinated with DTaP.
  • Adolescents 11 to 12 years usually get 1 dose.
  • A child aged 11 to 18 years will get 1 dose if any of the following is true:
    • He or she received the DTaP shots as a young child and has not had a Td booster.
    • He or she never had a Tdap shot.
    • She is pregnant and has not received the Tdap vaccine. A Tdap shot should be given at 27 to 36 weeks of pregnancy. The shot can also be given immediately after she gives birth.

When the Td vaccine is given:

The Td vaccine is a booster shot that may be given every 10 years, starting when your child is an adolescent. It can also be given after a severe wound or burn.

If your child's vaccine history is not known:

Children 7 years or older receive a series of 3 shots. The series is 1 Tdap shot and 2 Td shots. The second shot should be given at least 4 weeks after the first. The third shot should be given at least 6 months after the second.

Who should not get the diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis vaccine:

Your child should not get the vaccine if he or she had an allergic reaction to the vaccine in the past. Your child should not get it if he or she developed encephalopathy within 7 days of the last dose. If your child is allergic to latex, ask your healthcare provider if he or she should get the vaccine.

When your child should wait to get the diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis vaccine:

Wait to take your child to get the vaccine or tell your child's healthcare provider if:

  • Your child is sick or has a fever.
  • Your child cried for more than 3 hours within the first 2 days of getting the vaccine in the past.
  • Your child developed a fever of 105º F (40.5º C) when getting the vaccine in the past.
  • Your child had seizures or collapsed after getting the vaccine in the past.
  • Your child developed a brain disorder or nervous system disease within 7 days after a dose of DTaP.

Risks of the diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis vaccine:

The area where the vaccine was given may be red, tender, or swollen. Your child may have an allergic reaction to the vaccine. Rarely, this can be life-threatening.


It is important to control your child's pain and fever. Your child's healthcare provider may recommend any of the following in the first 24 hours after the shot:

  • Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to give your child and how often to give it. Follow directions. Read the labels of all other medicines your child uses to see if they also contain acetaminophen, or ask your child's doctor or pharmacist. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly.
  • NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If your child takes blood thinner medicine, always ask if NSAIDs are safe for him. Always read the medicine label and follow directions. Do not give these medicines to children under 6 months of age without direction from your child's healthcare provider.

Apply a warm compress

to the injection area as directed to decrease pain and swelling.

Follow up with your child's healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your child's visits.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.