Skip to Content

Dtap, Tdap, And Td Vaccines In Children


What are the DTaP, Tdap and Td 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.

When is the DTaP vaccine 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

What if my child misses a scheduled dose of the DTaP vaccine?

If your child misses a scheduled DTaP dose, 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 is the Tdap vaccine 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 is the Td vaccine 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.

What if my 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 DTaP, Tdap, or Td 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 has a severe allergy to latex, ask your healthcare provider if your child should get the vaccine.

When should my child wait to get the DTaP, Tdap, or Td 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 105ºF (40.5ºC) 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.

What are the risks of the DTaP, Tdap, and Td vaccines?

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.

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).

When should I seek immediate care?

  • Your child has a fever of 105ºF (40.5ºC).
  • 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.

When should I contact my child's healthcare provider?

  • 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.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's caregivers to decide what care you want for your child. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

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