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Dtap Vaccine For Children



is a shot given to protect your child from diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (whooping cough). These are severe infections caused by bacteria. Tetanus bacteria are found in dirt, manure, and dust. The bacteria enter the body through open skin, such as puncture wounds and burns. Diphtheria and pertussis bacteria are spread from person to person. The DTaP vaccine will protect your child until about age 11. Then he or she will need Tdap and Td booster shots. Your child's healthcare provider can give you more information about these boosters.

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) 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).

Call your child's pediatrician if:

  • Your child has a fever of 105ºF (40.5ºC).
  • Your child cries for 3 or more hours after getting DTaP.
  • 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.
  • 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. If your child misses a dose, the next dose should be given as soon as possible. There is no need to give extra doses or start the entire series again. DTaP is usually given at the following ages:

  • 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
Immunization Schedule 2018

When your child should not get the DTaP vaccine, or should not get all of the recommended doses:

Talk to your child's healthcare provider if your child has or had any of the following:

  • An allergy to any part of the vaccine
  • A severe allergic reaction to a dose of DTaP
  • Seizures or a coma within 7 days of a dose, caused by the DTaP vaccine

If your child cannot get the DTaP vaccine, or cannot get all of the recommended doses:

  • Your child may be able to get the DT vaccine instead. The DT vaccine does not contain the pertussis vaccine. Your child may need up to 4 doses of DT. Your child's healthcare provider will tell you how many doses your child needs and when to get them.
  • Your child can also still safely get the Td vaccine. Td is a booster shot given every 10 years to continue protecting your child from tetanus and diphtheria.

When your child should wait to get the DTaP vaccine:

Your provider may wait to give the DTaP vaccine until he or she feels it is safe for your child. Your child's healthcare provider will need to know if your child has or had any of the following:

  • Infantile spasms, a seizure disorder that is not controlled, or a brain disorder that is not stable
  • Any severe allergy
  • A seizure or collapse after a dose of DTaP
  • Guillain-Barré syndrome that developed less than 6 weeks after getting DTaP
  • A hypersensitivity reaction to a dose of DTaP
  • A fever or any current illness
  • A period of crying for more than 3 hours within the first 2 days of getting DTaP
  • A fever of 105ºF (40.5ºC) after getting DTaP

Risks of the DTaP vaccine:

The area where the vaccine was given may be red, tender, or swollen. This should get better in 1 to 2 days. Rarely, your child may develop severe shoulder pain that lasts longer than 2 days. Your child may have an allergic reaction to the vaccine. Rarely, this can be life-threatening.


Non-aspirin medicines help relieve minor pain or swelling from the shot. These medicines also help reduce fever. It is important to control fevers, especially if your child has a seizure disorder or family history of seizures. Your child's healthcare provider may recommend any of the following for 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.
  • Do not give aspirin to children under 18 years of age. Your child could develop Reye syndrome if he takes aspirin. Reye syndrome can cause life-threatening brain and liver damage. Check your child's medicine labels for aspirin, salicylates, or oil of wintergreen.

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.

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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.