Vaccine - Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis - DTaP

This is a vaccine that decreases your child's risk of getting diphtheria, tetanus or pertussis.

This is a vaccine that decreases your child's risk of getting diphtheria, tetanus or pertussis.

Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis are three bacterial illnesses that have potentially serious complications. Due to the widespread use of the DTaP vaccine (and other variations of this vaccine) these illnesses are not as common as they used to be. Diphtheria is characterized by:

  • Fever
  • Cough, sore throat and hoarseness
  • Swollen neck glands
  • Throat swelling with difficulty breathing and swallowing

Severe complications are due to the toxins made by the bacteria. They include inflammation of the heart muscle (myocarditis), paralysis, kidney damage and death.

Tetanus (lockjaw) is characterized by painful muscle spasms that can spread throughout the body. (Muscle spasms in the jaw produce the classic "lockjaw.") The spasms can lead to muscle tears or broken bones. Other symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Excessive sweating
  • High blood pressure
  • Fast or irregular heart beat

Severe complications include airway obstruction, respiratory arrest, heart failure, pneumonia, brain damage due to lack of oxygen during spasms and death.

Pertussis (whooping cough) is characterized by:

  • Cold symptoms
  • Slight fever
  • Mild cough that progresses to episodes of severe coughing that often end with a "whoop." The cough may be forceful enough to cause problems such a bruising, nosebleeds and broken ribs.

Complications may include pneumonia, dehydration, ear infections, seizures and death. Severe symptoms and complications are more common in infants younger than age 1.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that children get their DTaP vaccine at two months, four months, six months, and between fifteen and eighteen months. The fifth dose in the series should be given before they enter school, typically between four to six years of age. You may be required to show proof of DTaP vaccination before your child can attend school.

  • The DTaP vaccine is frequently given with the polio, pneumococcal and hemophilus influenza vaccines.
  • If your child has a moderate to severe illness, check with your healthcare provider before he or she receives the vaccine.
  • Your child should not receive the vaccine at all if he or she has an allergy to any of the components of the vaccine.
  • Adults may also need to be immunized against these three diseases. However, that is done with a different vaccine than the one used for children.

You should contact your healthcare provider if your child is not up to date on the DTaP vaccine. Here is a list of questions you can ask about the vaccine.

  • Do you recommend this vaccine for my child, and why?
  • Does this vaccine need boosters, and when?
  • What are the side effects of this vaccine?
  • What are the risks if my child does not get the vaccine?


Also known as:

Vaccine Tetanus
Vaccine Pertussis
Vaccine DTaP
Vaccine Diptheria
Vaccine - Diphtheria
Pertussis - DTaP
Tetanus Vaccine
Tetanus Shot
Tetanus Immunization
Pertussis Vaccine
Pertussis Shot
Pertussis Immunization
Immunization Tetanus
Immunization Pertussis
Immunization DTaP
Immunization Diphtheria
DTaP Vaccine
DTaP Shot
DTaP Immunization
Diphtheria Vaccine
Diphtheria Shot
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