Vaccine - Tetanus - Td

This is a vaccine that decreases your risk of getting tetanus, also known as lockjaw, and diphtheria.

This is a vaccine that decreases your risk of getting tetanus, also known as lockjaw, and diphtheria.

Tetanus (often called lockjaw) is a potentially life threatening disease caused by the bacteria Clostridium tetani. The bacteria frequently live in the dirt or animal feces. They enter the body through a cut or wound, such as one caused by a dirty nail. Due to the widespread use of the Td vaccine (and other variations of this vaccine) tetanus and diphtheria are now relatively rare.

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.

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.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults get one dose of the tetanus (Td) vaccine. After that they should get a tetanus (Td) booster every ten years.

  • A booster Td vaccine is also recommend if it has been more than five years since their last tetanus vaccine and someone has an injury resulting in an open wound. This is especially true if the wound is dirty or was caused by an object that is dirty.
  • If you have a moderate to severe illness, check with your healthcare provider before you receive the vaccine.
  • You should not receive the vaccine at all if you have a serious allergy or reaction to any of the components of the vaccine.

You should contact your healthcare provider if you are not up to date on your Td vaccine. Here is a list of questions you can ask during your appointment.

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


Also known as:

Vaccine Tetanus
Vaccine Td
Vaccine - Tetanus - Td
Tetanus Vaccine
Tetanus Shot
Tetanus Immunization
Td Vaccine
Td Shot
Td Immunization
Immunization Tetanus
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