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Daptacel Vaccine

Generic Name: diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis vaccine (DTaP) pediatric (dif THEER ee uh, TET a nus, ay SEL yoo ler per TUS iss)
Brand Names: Daptacel (DTaP), Infanrix (DTaP), Infanrix (DTaP) Preservative Free

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Sep 24, 2019.

What is Daptacel?

Daptacel is a combination vaccine that helps prevent diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis. Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis are serious diseases caused by bacteria.

Diphtheria causes a thick coating in the nose, throat, and airway. It can lead to breathing problems, paralysis, heart failure, and even death.

Tetanus (lockjaw) causes painful tightening of the muscles, usually all over the body. It can lead to "locking" of the jaw so the victim cannot open his mouth or swallow. Tetanus leads to death in about 1 out of 10 cases.

Pertussis (whooping cough) causes coughing so severe that it is hard for infants to eat, drink, or breathe. These spells can last for weeks. It can lead to pneumonia, seizures (convulsions), brain damage, and death.

Diphtheria and pertussis are spread from person to person. Tetanus enters the body through cuts or wounds. Vaccines for these diseases expose the individual to a small amount of the bacteria, helping the body develop immunity to the disease.

Daptacel pediatric vaccine (diphtheria, tetanus acellular, and pertussis pediatric vaccine (also called DTaP)) is used to help prevent these diseases in children who are ages 6 weeks to 6 years old (before the child has reached his or her 7th birthday).

Daptacel vaccine works by exposing your child to a small dose of the bacteria or a protein from the bacteria, which causes the body to develop immunity to the disease. This vaccine will not treat an active infection that has already developed in the body.

Like any vaccine, Daptacel may not provide protection from disease in every person.

Important information

Your child should not receive a booster Daptacel vaccine if he or she had a life threatening allergic reaction after the first shot.

Keep track of any and all side effects your child has after receiving Daptacel vaccine. When the child receives the next booster dose, you will need to tell the doctor if the first shot caused any side effects. Getting diphtheria, tetanus, or pertussis disease is much riskier than getting vaccinated. However, like any medicine, Daptacel vaccine can cause side effects. The risk of this vaccine causing a serious side effect is extremely small.

Any child who has had encephalitis (brain swelling) or a brain or nervous system disease within 7 days after a dose of Daptacel vaccine should not receive another dose.

Before taking this medicine

Your child should not receive Daptacel vaccine if he or she has ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to any vaccine containing diphtheria, pertussis, or tetanus.

Your child may not be able to receive Daptacel vaccine if he or she has ever received a similar vaccine that caused any of the following:

  • a very high fever (over 105 degrees);

  • excessive crying for 3 hours or longer;

  • a neurologic disorder or disease affecting the brain (within 7 days after receiving a Daptacel vaccine);

  • fainting or going into shock;

  • seizure (convulsions); or

  • Guillain-BarrĂ© syndrome (within 6 weeks after receiving a vaccine containing tetanus).

If your child has any of these other conditions, Daptacel vaccine may need to be postponed or not given at all:

  • premature birth;

  • a seizure disorder; or

  • a weak immune system caused by disease, bone marrow transplant, or by using certain medicines or receiving cancer treatments.

Your child can still receive a Daptacel vaccine if he or she has a minor cold. In the case of a more severe illness with a fever or any type of infection, wait until the child gets better before receiving this vaccine.

The pediatric version of diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis vaccine (Daptacel, Infanrix, Tripedia) should not be given to anyone over the age of 6 years old. Another vaccine is available for use in older children and adults.

How is Daptacel vaccine given?

Daptacel vaccine is given as an injection (shot) into a muscle. Your child will receive this injection in a doctor's office or clinic setting.

Daptacel vaccine is given in a series of shots. The first shot is usually given when the child is 2 months old. The booster shots are then given at 4 months, 6 months, 15 to 18 months, and again between 4 and 6 years of age.

The timing of this vaccination is very important for it to be effective. Your child's individual booster schedule may be different from these guidelines. Follow your doctor's instructions or the schedule recommended by the health department of the state you live in.

Your child may receive other vaccines at the same time as this vaccine vaccine.

Your doctor may recommend treating fever and pain with an aspirin free pain reliever such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, and others) when the shot is given and for the next 24 hours. Follow the label directions or your doctor's instructions about how much of this medicine to give your child.

It is especially important to prevent fever from occurring in a child who has a seizure disorder such as epilepsy.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Contact your doctor if you miss a booster dose or if you get behind schedule. The next dose should be given as soon as possible. There is no need to start over.

Be sure your child receives all recommended doses of Daptacel vaccine, or the child may not be fully protected against disease.

What happens if I overdose?

An overdose of Daptacel vaccine is unlikely to occur.

What should I avoid before or after receiving Daptacel vaccine?

Follow your doctor's instructions about any restrictions on food, beverages, or activity.

Daptacel side effects

Get emergency medical help if your child has signs of an allergic reaction to Daptacel: hives; dizziness, weakness; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Your child should not receive a booster vaccine if he or she had a life-threatening allergic reaction after the first shot.

Keep track of any and all side effects your child has after receiving this vaccine. When the child receives a booster dose, you will need to tell the doctor if the previous shot caused any side effects.

Becoming infected with diphtheria, pertussis, or tetanus is much more dangerous to your child's health than receiving this vaccine. However, like any medicine, Daptacel vaccine can cause side effects but the risk of serious side effects is extremely low.

Call your doctor at once if the child has any of these side effects within 2 to 3 days after receiving a Daptacel vaccine:

  • extreme drowsiness, fainting;

  • fussiness, irritability, crying for 3 hours or longer;

  • seizure (black-out or convulsions); or

  • a high fever within a few hours or a few days after the vaccine.

Some side effects are more likely to occur after the 4th or 5th booster dose.

Less serious Daptacel side effects include:

  • low fever;

  • redness, pain, or tenderness where the shot was given;

  • swelling of the entire arm or leg in which the shot was given (may last for up to 7 days);

  • mild fussiness or crying;

  • drowsiness, tiredness; or

  • vomiting, loss of appetite.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report vaccine side effects to the US Department of Health and Human Services at 1-800-822-7967.

What other drugs will affect Daptacel?

Before your child receives Daptacel vaccine, tell the doctor about all other vaccines your child has recently received.

Also tell the doctor if your child has recently received drugs or treatments that can weaken the immune system, including:

  • an oral, nasal, inhaled, or injectable steroid medicine;

  • medications to treat psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, or other autoimmune disorders; or

  • medicines to treat or prevent organ transplant rejection.

If your child is using any of these medications, he or she may not be able to receive the vaccine, or may need to wait until the other treatments are finished.

This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with this vaccine, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use Daptacel only for the indication prescribed.

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

Related questions

More about Daptacel (DTaP) (diphtheria and tetanus toxoids / pertussis, acellular)

Consumer resources

Other brands: Infanrix (DTaP), Tripedia (DTaP)

Professional resources

Related treatment guides