Why get vaccinated?
DTaP vaccine can prevent diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis.
Diphtheria and pertussis spread from person to person. Tetanus enters the body through cuts or wounds.
DIPHTHERIA (D) can lead to difficulty breathing, heart failure, paralysis, and death.
TETANUS (T) causes painful tightening of the muscles. Tetanus can lead to serious health problems, including being unable to open the mouth, having trouble swallowing and breathing, or death.
PERTUSSIS (aP), also known as "whooping cough," can cause uncontrollable, violent coughing that makes it hard to breathe, eat, or drink. Pertussis can be extremely serious especially in babies and young children, causing pneumonia, convulsions, brain damage, or death. In teens and adults, it can cause weight loss, loss of bladder control, passing out, and rib fractures from severe coughing.
DTaP is only for children younger than 7 years old. Different vaccines against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap and Td) are available for older children, adolescents, and adults.
It is recommended that children receive 5 doses of DTaP, usually at the following ages:
- 2 months
- 4 months
- 6 months
- 15–18 months
- 4–6 years
DTaP may be given as a stand-alone vaccine, or as part of a combination vaccine (a type of vaccine that combines more than one vaccine together into one shot).
DTaP may be given at the same time as other vaccines.
Talk with your healthcare provider
Tell your health care provider if the person getting the vaccine:
- Has had an allergic reaction after a previous dose of any vaccine that protects against tetanus, diphtheria, or pertussis,, or has any severe, life-threatening allergies.
- Has had a coma, decreased level of consciousness, or prolonged seizures within 7 days after a previous dose of any pertussis vaccine (DTP or DTaP)
- Has seizures or another nervous system problem
- Has had a condition called Guillain-Barré Syndrome (also called "GBS")
- Has had severe pain or swelling after a previous dose of that protects against tetanus or diphtheria
In some cases, your child's healthcare provider may decide to postpone your child's DTaP vaccination until 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 child's health care provider can give you more information.
Risks of a vaccine reaction
- Soreness or swelling where the shot was given, fever, fussiness, feeling tired, loss of appetite, and vomiting sometimes happen after DTaP vaccination.
- More serious reactions, such as seizures, nonstop crying for 3 hours or more, or high fever (over 105°F) after DTaP vaccination happen much less often. Rarely, the vaccine is followed by swelling of the entire arm or leg, especially in older children when they receive their fourth or fifth dose.
As with any medicine, there is a very remote chance of a vaccine causing a severe allergic reaction, other serious injury, or death.
What if there is a serious problem?
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 healthcare provider.
Adverse reactions should be reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). Your health care provider will usually file this report, or you can do it yourself. Visit the VAERS website at http://www.vaers.hhs.gov or call 1-800-822-7967. VAERS is only for reporting reactions, and VAERS does not give medical advice.
The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program
The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) is a federal program that was created to compensate people who may have been injured by certain vaccines. Claims regarding alleged injury or death due to vaccination have a time limit for filing, which may be as short as two years. Visit the VICP website at http://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation or call 1-800-338-2382 to learn about the program and about filing a claim.
How can I learn more?
- Ask your healthcare provider.
- Call your local or state health department.
- Visit the website of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for vaccine package inserts and additional information at http://www.fda.gov/vaccines-blood-biologics/vaccines.
- Contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): call 1-800-232-4636 (1-800-CDC-INFO) or visit CDC's website at http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines.
DTaP Vaccine Information Statement. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Immunization Program. 8/6/2021.
Brand names of combination products
- Kinrix® (containing Diphtheria, Tetanus Toxoids, Acellular Pertussis, Polio Vaccine)
- Pediarix® (containing Diphtheria, Tetanus Toxoids, Acellular Pertussis, Hepatitis B, Polio Vaccine)
- Pentacel® (containing Diphtheria, Tetanus Toxoids, Acellular Pertussis, Haemophilus influenzae type b, Polio Vaccine)
- Quadracel® (containing Diphtheria, Tetanus Toxoids, Acellular Pertussis, Polio Vaccine)