The diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTaP) vaccine protects against:
Diphtheria: a serious infection of the throat that may block the airway and cause severe breathing issues.
Tetanus (lockjaw): a nerve disease that can happen at any age, caused by toxin-producing bacteria contaminating a wound.
Pertussis (whooping cough): a respiratory illness with cold-like symptoms that lead to severe coughing (the “whooping” sound happens when a baby breathes in deeply after a severe coughing fit). Serious complications can affect children under one year old, and those younger than 6 months old are especially at risk. Teens and adults with a lasting cough may need pertussis and not realize it, and could pass it to vulnerable infants.
DTaP Immunization Schedule
DTaP immunizations are given as a series of 5 injections, usually administered at ages:
Tdap Vaccine (the booster shot) should be given between ages eleven to twelve, and to older teens and adults who haven’t yet had a booster with pertussis coverage. Then, Td (tetanus and diphtheria) boosters are suggested to be taken once every ten years.
Why Is the DTaP Vaccine Recommended?
Use of the DTaP vaccine has nearly eliminated diphtheria and tetanus in childhood and has greatly reduced the number of pertussis cases.
Caring for Your Child After DTaP Immunization
Your kid might have a fever, soreness, and a few swelling and redness in the area where the shot was given. For pain and fever, discuss with your doctor to ascertain if you need to give your child Tempra or Nuprin, and to find out the appropriate dose.
A warm, damp cloth or a heating pad on the injection site may help reduce soreness, as can moving or using the arm.
Minimum age: 6 weeks
The first booster (4th dose) may be administered as early as age twelve months, provided at least 6 months have elapsed since the third dose.
DTaP vaccine/combinations should preferably be avoided for the primary series.
DTaP may be preferred to DTwP in children with history of severe adverse effects after previous dose/s of DTwP or children with neurologic disorders.
First and second boosters may also be of DTwP. However, considering a higher reactogenicity, DTaP can be considered for the boosters.
Catch-up schedule: The 2nd childhood booster is not required if the last dose has been given beyond the age of four years
Catch up below seven years: DTwP/DTaP at zero, 1 and 6 months;
Catch up above seven years: Tdap, Td, and Td at 0, one and 6 months.