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Generic name: tetanus and diphtheria toxoids vaccine (Td)TET-a-nus-and-dif-THEER-ee-a-TOX-oyds-vax-EEN ]
Brand names: TDVAX, Tenivac (Td)
Drug class: Vaccine combinations

Medically reviewed by on Dec 1, 2021. Written by Cerner Multum.

What is TDVAX?

Diphtheria and tetanus are serious diseases caused by bacteria.

Diphtheria can cause 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 tetanus and diphtheria vaccine (also called Td) is used to help prevent these diseases. This vaccine helps your body develop immunity to the disease, but will not treat an active infection you already have.

Td vaccine is for use in adults and children at least 7 years old.

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


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

Before taking this medicine

You should not receive this vaccine if you have ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to any vaccine that contains diphtheria or tetanus.

This vaccine may need to be postponed or not given at all if you have ever had any of the following reactions after receiving a diphtheria or tetanus vaccine:

  • Guillain-Barré syndrome (within 6 weeks after receiving the vaccine);

  • severe pain, weakness, or numbness in one or both shoulders, upper arms, and hands;

  • an allergic reaction; or

  • hives, redness, or other skin reactions.

Tell your vaccination provider if you have:

  • an allergy to latex; or

  • a weak immune system (caused by disease or by using certain medicine, or by chemotherapy or radiation).

You can still receive a vaccine if you have a minor cold. In the case of a more severe illness with a fever or any type of infection, wait until you get better before receiving this vaccine.

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, your doctor or vaccination provider should determine whether you need a Td vaccine.

Not approved for use by anyone younger than 7 years old.

How is this vaccine given?

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

This vaccine is given to people at least 7 years old, in a series of 3 shots. The first 2 shots are usually given 4 to 8 weeks apart. The booster shot is then given 6 to 12 months after the second shot.

A booster shot is also recommended in children who are 11 or 12 years old, and again every 10 years throughout adulthood.

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

If it has been longer than 5 years since your last booster, you may need an emergency booster shot if you have been exposed to tetanus through a skin wound.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Contact your vaccination provider 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 to receive all recommended doses of this vaccine or you 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.

This vaccine side effects

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

You should not receive a booster vaccine if you had a life threatening allergic reaction after the first shot.

Keep track of all side effects you have. If you receive a booster dose, tell the vaccination provider if the previous shot caused any side effects.

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

TDVAX may cause serious side effects. Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • severe pain, itching, swelling, or redness where the shot was given;

  • high fever (over 102 degrees F);

  • a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;

  • severe joint pain; or

  • nervous system problems--numbness, pain, tingling, weakness, burning or prickly feeling, vision or hearing problems, trouble breathing.

Common side effects include:

  • redness, pain, swelling, or a lump where the shot was given;

  • joint pain, muscle weakness;

  • fever, chills, headache, not feeling well; or

  • nausea, vomiting, stomach pain.

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 this vaccine?

Before receiving this vaccine, tell your vaccination provider about all other vaccines you have recently received.

Also tell the vaccination provider if you have recently received drugs or treatments that can weaken the immune system, including:

If you are using any of these medications, you 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 affect TDVAX, 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.