All content below is taken in its entirety from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Td vaccine information statement (VIS) -- www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/vis/vis-statements/td.html.
Page last updated: April 1, 2020
1. Why get vaccinated?
Td vaccine can prevent tetanus and diphtheria.
Tetanus enters the body through cuts or wounds. Diphtheria spreads from person to person.
- Tetanus (T) causes painful stiffening of the muscles. Tetanus can lead to serious health problems, including being unable to open the mouth, having trouble swallowing and breathing, or death.
- Diphtheria (D) can lead to difficulty breathing, heart failure, paralysis, or death.
2. Td Vaccine
Td is only for children 7 years and older, adolescents, and adults.
Td is usually given as a booster dose every 10 years, but it can also be given earlier after a severe and dirty wound or burn.
Another vaccine, called Tdap, that protects against pertussis, also known as "whooping chough" in addition to tetanus and diphtheria, may be used instead of Td.
Td may be given at the same time as other vaccines.
3. Talk with your health care provider
Tell your vaccine provider if the person getting the vaccine:
- Has had an allergic reaction after a previous dose of any vaccine that protects against tetanus or diphtheria, or has any severe life-threatening allergies.
- Has ever had Guillain Barré Syndrome (also called GBS).
- Has had severe pain or swelling after a previous dose of any vaccine that protects against tetanus or diphtheria.
In some cases, your health care provider may decide to postpone Td vaccination to a future visit.
People with minor illnesses, such as a cold, may be vaccinated. People who are moderately or severely ill should usually wait until they recover before getting Td vaccine.
Your provider can give you more information.
4. Risks of a vaccine reaction
Pain, redness, or swelling where the shot was given, mild fever, headache, feeling tired, and nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or stomachache sometimes happen after Td vaccine.
People sometimes faint after medical procedures, including vaccination. Tell your provider if you feel dizzy, or have vision changes or ringing in the ears.
As with any medicine, there is a very remote chance of a vaccine causing serious a severe allergic reaction, other serious injury, or death.
The safety of vaccines is always being monitored. For more information, visit: www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/index.html.
5. What if there is a serious problem?
An allergic reaction could occur after the vaccinated person 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 person to the nearest hospital.
For other signs that concern you, call your provider.
Adverse reactions should be reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). Your provider will usually file this report, or you can do it yourself. Visit the VAERS website at vaers.hhs.gov or call 1-800-822-7967. VAERS is only for reporting reactions, and VAERS staff do not give medical advice.
6. 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. Visit the VICP website at www.hrsa.gov/vaccine-compensation/index.html 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.
7. How can I learn more?
Centers for Disease Control and website. Vaccine information statements (VISs): Td (tetanus, diphtheria) VIS. www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/vis/vis-statements/td.html. Updated April 1, 2020. Accessed April 2, 2020.
Review Date 4/2/2020
Updated by: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.