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Dtap Vaccine for Children

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jun 5, 2024.

What is the DTaP vaccine?

DTaP is a vaccine given as a shot 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 booster shots.

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. If your child misses a dose, the next dose should be given as soon as possible. Your child will not need extra doses or start the entire series again. A dose is sometimes given to children younger than 7 years after a severe wound or burn to prevent tetanus. The DTaP vaccine is often given with polio, hepatitis B, pneumococcal, and Hib vaccines. Your child may need these or other childhood vaccines at certain ages. DTaP is usually given at the following ages:

Recommended DTaP and Tdap Immunization Schedules

What do I need to tell my child's healthcare provider?

Tell the provider if your child has or had any of the following:

What are reasons my child should not get the DTaP vaccine?

Your child should not get the vaccine if he or she has or had any of the following:

When should my child wait to get the DTaP vaccine?

Tell your child's healthcare provider if your child has a fever or illness. Your child's provider may wait to give the DTaP vaccine until the fever or illness is gone.

What are the 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.

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

When should I call my child's doctor?

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 healthcare providers 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.

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Further information

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