The Tdap is a "3-in-1" vaccine that protects against diphtheria, tetanus (lockjaw), and pertussis (whooping cough). Td vaccine is a "2-in-1" vaccine that protects against tetanus and diphtheria.
Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis are serious diseases that can be life-threatening.
Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis are each caused by a bacterium.
The Tdap and Td vaccines are made from dead (inactivated) bacteria. So the vaccines will not make a person sick from the diseases they are protecting against. After getting either vaccine, the body learns to attack the bacteria if a person is exposed to them. As a result, the person is very unlikely to get sick with any of the diseases.
Because immunity to diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis wears off, Tdap and Td are used mainly as booster vaccines.
NOTE: Tdap is not the same as the vaccine DTaP. Both vaccines protect against the same diseases, but are given at different ages.
WHO SHOULD GET THIS VACCINE
WHO SHOULD NOT GET THE VACCINES
RISKS AND SIDE EFFECTS
There is no proof that Tdap or Td is linked to the development of autism.
No vaccine works all of the time. It is still possible, though unlikely, to get any of the infections even after receiving all doses (shots) of Tdap or Td.
CALL YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER IF:
Tdap immunization; Td immunization; Diphtheria vaccination; Tetanus vaccination; Pertussis vaccination
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. General recommendations on immunization: recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). MMWR 2011;60 (No. RR-2):1-64.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vaccine safety and adverse events. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/safety/default.htm. Accessed April 19, 2013.
DeStefano F, Price CS, Weintraub ES. Increasing exposure to antibody-stimulating proteins and polysaccharides in vaccines is not associated with risk of autism. J Pediatr. 2013;DOI10.1016/j.jpeds.2013.02.001.
Institute of Medicine. Immunization Safety Review Committee. Immunization safety review: vaccines and autism. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; 2004.
Orenstein WA, Atkinson WL. Immunization. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 17.
Updated by: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.
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