Description and Brand Names
Drug information provided by: Merative, Micromedex®
US Brand Name
Diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis booster vaccine (also known as Tdap) is a combination immunizing agent used to protect against infections caused by diphtheria, tetanus (lockjaw), and pertussis (whooping cough). This vaccine is given to children 10 years of age and older, to women in their third trimester of pregnancy to prevent pertussis in babies younger than 2 months of age, and to adults who have already been given this vaccine in the past. The vaccine will "boost" or increase the protection that the patient had from an earlier dose.
Diphtheria is a serious illness that can cause breathing difficulties, heart problems, nerve damage, pneumonia, and possibly death. The risk of serious complications and death is greater in very young children and in the elderly.
Tetanus (also known as lockjaw) is a serious illness that causes convulsions (seizures) and severe muscle spasms that can be strong enough to cause bone fractures of the spine. Tetanus causes death in 30 to 40 percent of cases.
Pertussis (also known as whooping cough) is a serious disease that causes severe spells of coughing that can interfere with breathing. Pertussis can also cause pneumonia, long-lasting bronchitis, seizures, brain damage, and death.
Children 10 years of age and older, and adults, may need an additional immunization called a booster against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis. Adults and teenagers should receive Tdap instead of the tetanus-diphtheria (Td) injection if it has been 10 years or more since their last tetanus-diphtheria vaccine. Tdap vaccine is recommended for adults who are in close contact with a baby who is less than a year old and for adults who work in the healthcare field.
Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis are serious diseases that can cause life-threatening illnesses. Although some serious side effects can occur after a dose of Tdap (usually from the pertussis vaccine part), this rarely happens. The chance of your child catching one of these diseases, and being permanently injured or dying as a result, is much greater than the chance of your child getting a serious side effect from the Tdap vaccine.
This vaccine is to be given only by or under the direct supervision of your doctor.
This product is available in the following dosage forms:
Portions of this document last updated: May 01, 2023
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