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Tdap and Td Vaccines for Children

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Mar 5, 2023.

What are the Tdap and Td vaccines?

Tdap and Td are shots given to protect your child 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. Children are usually given a series of 5 DTaP shots by age 7. By age 11, the DTaP vaccine starts to wear off. Booster shots given to continue the protection.

When is the Tdap vaccine given?

The Tdap vaccine is usually given to prevent a tetanus, diphtheria, or pertussis infection. It can also be given after a severe wound or burn to prevent tetanus. Your healthcare provider will tell you when to bring your child in for a Tdap vaccine:

  • At 11 to 12 years, 1 dose of the Tdap vaccine is given routinely.
  • From 7 to 18 years, 1 dose may be given as part of a catch-up series if your child missed any DTaP doses.
  • From 13 to 18 years, 1 dose may be given if your child did not receive Tdap at 11 or 12 years of age.
  • For pregnant adolescents, a Tdap shot is given at 27 to 36 weeks of each pregnancy. The shot can also be given immediately after she gives birth if she did not receive a dose during pregnancy.
Recommended DTaP and Tdap Immunization Schedules

When is the Td vaccine given?

The Td vaccine is usually given as a booster dose every 10 years. This can start when your child is an adolescent. Td can also be given after 5 years if your child has a severe wound or burn. One dose can also be given as part of the catch-up DTaP series, after a catch-up Tdap dose.

When should my child not get the Tdap vaccine?

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

When should my child not get the Td vaccine?

  • Your child had an allergic reaction to DTaP, Tdap, or Td.
  • Your child is allergic to any part of the Td vaccine.

When should my child wait to get the Tdap or Td vaccine?

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

  • A seizure disorder or a problem with his or her nervous system
  • Severe pain or swelling after a dose of DTaP
  • Any severe allergy
  • A history of Guillain-Barré syndrome
  • A period of crying for more than 3 hours within the first 2 days of getting DTaP
  • A fever of 105º F (40.5º C) after getting DTaP
  • A fever or any current illness

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, 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:

  • 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).
  • Your child has a fever of 105º F (40.5º C).

When should I seek immediate care?

  • 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 call my child's doctor?

  • 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 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.