What happens if you get tetanus shots too close together — within a few years instead of the recommended 10 years?
Answer From Pritish K. Tosh, M.D.
It's usually OK to receive an extra booster of the tetanus vaccine.
Vaccination is the best way to prevent tetanus — a serious disease caused by a bacterial toxin that affects the nervous system. Tetanus bacterial spores can enter your body through any cut or scratch. But deep puncture wounds, such as from stepping on a nail, are most susceptible to tetanus infection.
An adult who's never been vaccinated against tetanus should complete the initial tetanus series of three tetanus shots. The first two shots are given at least four weeks apart, and the third shot is given 6 to 12 months after the second shot. After the initial tetanus series, booster shots are recommended every 10 years.
Pritish K. Tosh, M.D.
July 27, 2023
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See more Expert Answers
- Diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping cough vaccination: What everyone should know. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/dtap-tdap-td/public/index.html. Accessed Aug. 5, 2021.
- Tetanus. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/tetanus/index.html. Accessed Aug. 5, 2021.
- Havers FP, et al. Use of tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid, and acellular pertussis vaccines: Updated recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices — United States, 2019. MMWR Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 2020; doi:10.15585/mmwr.mm6903a5.