Vaccines and Preventable Diseases:
Tetanus (Lockjaw) Vaccination
Tetanus (lockjaw) is a serious disease that causes painful tightening of the muscles, usually all over the body. It can lead to "locking" of the jaw so the victim cannot open his mouth or swallow. Tetanus leads to death in about 1 in 10 cases. Several vaccines are used to prevent tetanus among children, adolescents, and adults including DTaP, Tdap, DT, and Td.
What You Should Know:
For Health Professionals:
What You Should Know
- Brief description
Symptoms, treatment, transmission, etc.
- Pictures of Tetanus
Warning: Some of these photos are quite graphic.
- Travelers information
Information and updates on risks for travelers, precautions, prevention, etc.
- Tetanus basics
Fact sheet offers overview of Tetanus disease and vaccine risks and benefits
Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis Vaccines
There are four combination vaccines used to prevent diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis: DTaP, Tdap, DT, and Td. Two of these (DTaP and DT) are given to children younger than 7 years of age, and two (Tdap and Td) are given to older children and adults. Several other combination vaccines contain DTaP along with other childhood vaccines.
Children should get 5 doses of DTaP, one dose at each of the following ages: 2, 4, 6, and 15-18 months and 4-6 years. DT does not contain pertussis, and is used as a substitute for DTaP for children who cannot tolerate pertussis vaccine.
Td is a tetanus-diphtheria vaccine given to adolescents and adults as a booster shot every 10 years, or after an exposure to tetanus under some circumstances. Tdap is similar to Td but also containing protection against pertussis. Adolescents 11-18 years of age (preferably at age 11-12 years) and adults 19 through 64 years of age should receive a single dose of Tdap. For adults 65 and older who have close contact with an infant and have not previously received Tdap, one dose should be received. Tdap should also be given to 7-10 year olds who are not fully immunized against pertussis. Tdap can be given no matter when Td was last received.
[Upper-case letters in these abbreviations denote full-strength doses of diphtheria (D) and tetanus (T) toxoids and pertussis (P) vaccine. Lower-case “d” and “p” denote reduced doses of diphtheria and pertussis used in the adolescent/adult-formulations. The “a” in DTaP and Tdap stands for “acellular,” meaning that the pertussis component contains only a part of the pertussis organism.]
- Tetanus: Make Sure You and Your Child Are Fully Immunized
Feature explaining tetanus disease and tetanus vaccine protection
- As an adult, do I need this vaccine?
(19 years and older)
- Side effects of vaccine
Excerpt from Vaccine Information Statement
- Vaccine Information Statement (VIS) (Td/Tdap and DTaP)
about the various vaccines (DT, DTaP, Td, Tdap)
- State Vaccine Requirements
Includes school vaccine requirements
As with all vaccines, there can be minor reactions, including pain and redness at the injection site, headache, fatigue or a vague feeling of discomfort.
- Multiple or combined vaccines and the immune system
- CDC's Vaccine Safety website
For Health Professionals
- Technical information (Updated April 2011)
Clinical Features, Etiologic Agent, Incidence, Complications, Transmission, Risk Groups, Surveillance, Trends, Challenges, etc. (Pink Book)
- Ask the Experts
CDC experts answer your clinical vaccine questions (Immunization Action Coalition)
- Proper storage and handling of vaccines UPDATED dec 2011
CDC Vaccine Storage and Handling guide includes shelf life, reconstitution instructions...
- Pediarix vaccine: questions and answers
- Tdap vaccine: recommendations, press release, etc.
- Package inserts (Boostrix, Daptacel, Infanrix, Kinrix, Pediarix, Pentacel, Tripedia, and more package inserts...) Posted Feb 2010
- ACIP recommendations (includes recommendations for DTaP, Hib and DTP, Tdap, and, Tdap and Td Vaccines and Pregnancy)
- Healthcare Personnel Vaccination Recommendations [PDF-68KB, 1 page] Updated Oct 2009
- Standing Orders
- ACIP - Vaccines for Children (VFC) Resolution
- See also other VFC materials re Tdap
- Pink Book's chapter on Tetanus [PDF-460KB, 10 pages] Updated April 2011
Epidemiology & Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases, 12th Edition
- Surveillance manual's chapter on Tetanus
Manual for the Surveillance of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases textbook
- Travelers Health: Yellow Book
- Tetanus and Neonatal Tetanus: Haiti Pre-decision Brief for Public Health Action posted Mar 2010
- Check Your Vials: Is it Tdap, DTaP, or Td? [PDF-239KB, 1 page]
Source: California Department of Health Services, Immunization Branch
- Journal articles on Tetanus
Immunization Action Coalition
- CDC Commentary: With Pertussis on the Rise, Who Needs a Tdap Vaccination?
In this video commentary from the CDC, Stacey Martin explains who should get a Tdap vaccination or booster to protect against pertussis. CDC Expert Commentary, July 2010
Immunization-related podcasts; none specifically on tetanus
- Vaccine Information Statement (VIS) (Td/Tdap and DTaP)
- Stories of people who suffered or died from vaccine-preventable diseases
- Tetanus: Questions and Answers [PDF-88KB, 3 pages]
Ready-to-print versions of one of the CDC-reviewed Q&A material located on IAC's Vaccine Information website (http://www.vaccineinformation.org) Dated 2/07
- Tétanos - Las vacunas y las enfermedades que previenen (Spanish materials)
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Content last reviewed on May 18, 2009
Content Source: National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases