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Home > Health Library > DTaP (Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis) Vaccine: What You Need to Know
DTaP vaccine can help protect your child from diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis.
DIPHTHERIA (D) can cause breathing problems, paralysis, and heart failure. Before vaccines, diphtheria killed tens of thousands of children every year in the United States.
TETANUS (T) causes painful tightening of the muscles. It can cause "locking" of the jaw so you cannot open your mouth or swallow. About 1 person out of 5 who get tetanus dies.
PERTUSSIS (aP), also known as Whooping Cough, causes coughing spells so bad that it is hard for infants and children to eat, drink, or breathe. It can cause pneumonia, seizures, brain damage, or death.
Most children who are vaccinated with DTaP will be protected throughout childhood. Many more children would get these diseases if we stopped vaccinating.
Children should usually get 5 doses of DTaP vaccine, one dose at each of the following ages:
DTaP may be given at the same time as other vaccines. Also, sometimes a child can receive DTaP together with one or more other vaccines in a single shot.
DTaP is only for children younger than 7 years old. DTaP vaccine is not appropriate for everyone – a small number of children should receive a different vaccine that contains only diphtheria and tetanus instead of DTaP.
Tell your health care provider if your child:
In some cases, your health care provider may decide to postpone your child's DTaP vaccination to a future visit.
Children with minor illnesses, such as a cold, may be vaccinated. Children who are moderately or severely ill should usually wait until they recover before getting DTaP vaccine.
Your health care provider can give you more information.
As with any medicine, there is a very remote chance of a vaccine causing a severe allergic reaction, other serious injury, or death.
An allergic reaction could occur after the child leaves the clinic. If you see signs of a severe allergic reaction (hives, swelling of the face and throat, difficulty breathing, a fast heartbeat, dizziness, or weakness), call 9-1-1 and get the child to the nearest hospital.
For other signs that concern you, call your child's health care provider.
Serious reactions should be reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). Your doctor will usually file this report, or you can do it yourself. Visit www.vaers.hhs.gov or call 1-800-822-7967. VAERS is only for reporting reactions, it does not give medical advice.
The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program is a federal program that was created to compensate people who may have been injured by certain vaccines. Visit www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation or call 1-800-338-2382 to learn about the program and about filing a claim. There is a time limit to file a claim for compensation.
Vaccine Information Statement
DTaP (Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis) Vaccine
42 U.S.C. § 300aa-26
Department of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Many Vaccine Information Statements are available in Spanish and other languages. See www.immunize.org/vis.
Muchas hojas de información sobre vacunas están disponibles en español y en otros idiomas. Visite www.immunize.org/vis.
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