DTaP, DT, Tdap, Td, and TT

Vaccines that Prevent Tetanus

Age/Circumstances for DTap

The first tetanus vaccination, DTaP (actually meant to prevent diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus), is given at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 15-18 months, and 4-6 years old. After 6 years of age, DTaP cannot be given because the level of diphtheria toxoid is too high for adults.

Age/Circumstances for DT

The DT vaccine, preventing only diphtheria and tetanus, replaces the DTaP vaccination for children below 6 years of age if the children cannot tolerate pertussis vaccines or are allergic to the vaccinations. Like DTaP, DT is given to children at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 15-18 months, and 4-6 years of age. After 6 years of age, DT cannot be given because the level of diphtheria toxoid is too high for adults.

Age/Circumstances for Td

The Td vaccine is given as a booster vaccine starting at age 11 or 12 and is continually given afterwards every 10 years. Also, when traveling to places where tetanus is more common, extra Td vaccinations are typically given, and pregnant women are given extra Td shots.


Age/Circumstances for TT

The TT vaccination is used in place of the Td vaccine if a person is allergic to the Td vaccine. Like the Td vaccine, TT is given starting at age 11 or 12 and then given again every 10 years.

Age/Circumstances for Tdap

The Tdap vaccination, which protects against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis, is given in one dose to people ages 11-64 and to 7-10 year olds that have not been immunized against pertussis previously. Tdap and Td are not related to each other timing-wise, and Tdap can be given regardless of the last time Td was given; however, Tdap can only be given ONCE.

Symptoms of Tetanus

Symptoms of tetanus include severe muscle spasms, serious breathing difficulties, prolonged muscle activity resulting in tears in muscle tissue, drooling, excessive sweating, fever, irritability, swallowing difficulties, uncontrollable urination, and possibly death.

Death in Tetanus Victims

Tetanus can lead to death: about one out of five people die from tetanus when they are not vaccinated. Tetanus vaccines prevent 95% of all tetanus cases; therefore, getting vaccinated for tetanus is highly beneficial.

Side Effects of Vaccination

Side effects of the tetanus vaccinations include soreness (mild pain, redness, and/or swelling) at the injection site as well as a mild fever. Usually, side effects do not get worse than this mild reaction, although such mild reactions are likely.


More moderate reactions include seizures, non-stop crying, and high fever, though this only occurs in 1 out of thousands of children.


The most severe side effects include long-term seizures, comas, lowered consciousness, or even permanent brain damage, although it is hard to tell if these symptoms are caused by the vaccine. This only occurs in one out of a million children that get the vaccine.