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Diphtheria-Tetanus Toxoids, Pediatric (DT)

Generic name: diphtheria and tetanus toxoids vaccine (DT, pediatric) [ dif-THEER-ee-a-TET-a-nus-TOX-oids ]
Brand names: Diphtheria-Tetanus Toxoids, Pediatric (DT)
Drug class: Vaccine combinations

Medically reviewed by on Oct 17, 2023. Written by Cerner Multum.

What is Diphtheria-Tetanus Toxoids, Pediatric (DT)?

Diphtheria and tetanus are serious diseases caused by bacteria.

Diphtheria can lead to breathing problems, paralysis, heart failure, or death.

Tetanus (lockjaw) causes painful tightening of the muscles that can lead to "locking" of the jaw so the victim cannot open the mouth, swallow, or breathe. Tetanus can lead to death.

Diphtheria is spread from person to person. Tetanus enters the body through a cut or wound.

The Diphtheria-Tetanus Toxoids, Pediatric (DT) (also called DT) is used to help prevent these diseases in children between the ages of 6 weeks and 6 years old (before the 7th birthday).

This vaccine helps your child's body develop immunity to these diseases, but will not treat an active infection the child already has.

Like any vaccine, the Diphtheria-Tetanus Toxoids, Pediatric (DT) may not provide protection from disease in every person.

This vaccine side effects

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

Keep track of all side effects your child has. If the child receives a booster dose, tell the vaccination provider if the previous shot caused any side effects.

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

Call your doctor at once if your child has:

Your child may feel faint after receiving this vaccine.

Common side effects include:

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.


Becoming infected with diphtheria or tetanus is much more dangerous to your child's health than receiving this vaccine.

Before taking this medicine

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

Tell the vaccination provider if your child was born prematurely, or if the child has ever had Guillain-Barré syndrome (within 6 weeks after receiving a tetanus vaccine).

Your child can still receive a 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 this vaccine (DT) should not be given to anyone who is 7 years or older. Another vaccine is available for use in older children and adults.

How is this vaccine given?

This vaccine is given as an injection (shot) into a muscle.

This vaccine is given in a series of shots starting as early as 6 weeks of age. The first shot is usually given when the child is 2 months old.

The booster shots are then given at 4 months, 6 months, and 15 to 18 months of age, and again between 4 and 6 years of age.

Your child's booster schedule may be different from these guidelines. Follow your doctor's instructions or the schedule recommended by your local health department.

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 this vaccine, or the child may not be fully protected against disease.

What happens if I overdose?

An overdose of this vaccine is unlikely to occur.

What should I avoid before or after receiving this vaccine?

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

What other drugs will affect Diphtheria-Tetanus Toxoids, Pediatric (DT)?

The vaccine may not work as well if your child receives drugs or treatments that can weaken the immune system, including:

This list is not complete. Other drugs may affect this vaccine, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed here.

Further information

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

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