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Tdap and Td Vaccines for Adults

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Aug 31, 2022.

What are the Tdap and Td vaccines?

Tdap and Td 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.

Why may I 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 should I not get the Tdap vaccine?

  • 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.

When is the Td vaccine 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.

When should I not get the Td vaccine?

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

When should I 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

Treatment options

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

What are the 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.

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.

When should I seek immediate care?

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

When should I call my doctor?

  • 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.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. 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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Learn more about Tdap and Td Vaccines for Adults

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Further information

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