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Tdap and Td Vaccines for Adults

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Oct 3, 2022.


Tdap and Td vaccines

are shots given to protect you and others around you from tetanus, diphtheria, 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.

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

  • Your mouth and throat are swollen.
  • You are wheezing or have trouble breathing.
  • You have chest pain or your heart is beating faster than usual.

Seek immediate care if:

  • Your face is red or swollen.
  • You have hives that spread over your body.
  • You feel weak or dizzy.

Call your doctor if:

  • You have severe pain, redness, and swelling in your arm where the shot was given.
  • You have a fever or chills.
  • You have a headache, body aches, or joint pain.
  • You have nausea or diarrhea, or you are vomiting.
  • You have questions or concerns about the vaccine.

Why you may need the Tdap vaccine:

  • You did not get some or any of the recommended DTaP doses as a child.
  • You did not get Tdap when you were 11 or 12 years old.
  • You are a healthcare worker who never got a dose of Tdap.
  • You never got a dose of Tdap and will have close contact with a baby younger than 12 months. Get the vaccine within 2 weeks of the close contact, if possible.
  • You have a severe cut or burn.
  • You are a pregnant woman. You need 1 dose of Tdap during each pregnancy, at 27 to 36 weeks.
  • You have just had a baby and did not get a dose of Tdap during your pregnancy.

When the Td vaccine is given:

The Td vaccine is usually given as a booster dose every 10 years. Td can also be given after 5 years if you have a severe wound or burn.

Do not get the Tdap vaccine if:

  • You are allergic to any part of the vaccine.
  • You had a severe allergic reaction to DTaP or DTP.
  • You had seizures or a coma within 7 days of receiving DTaP or DTP, caused by the vaccine. You can still safely get the Td vaccine in this case.

Treatment options

The following list of medications are in some way related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

Do not get the Td vaccine if:

  • You had an allergic reaction to DTaP, DTP, Tdap, or Td.
  • You are allergic to any part of the Td vaccine.

Reasons to wait to get the Tdap or Td vaccine:

Your provider may wait to give the vaccine until he or she feels it is safe for you. Your provider will need to know if you have or had any of the following:

  • A seizure disorder or a problem with your nervous system
  • Severe pain or swelling after a dose of DTaP, DTP, or Td
  • Any severe allergy
  • A history of Guillain-Barré syndrome
  • A fever of 105º F (40.5º C) after getting DTaP or DTP
  • A fever or any current illness

Risks of the Tdap and Td vaccines:

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

Apply a warm compress

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

Follow up with your doctor as directed:

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

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2022 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

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.

Learn more about Tdap and Td Vaccines for Adults

Treatment options

Care guides guides (external)

Further information

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