Many people are confused by the vaccines for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis. Here are the facts to help you determine which vaccine you need.
The Td vaccine has been used for many years. It protects against tetanus and diphtheria. The Tdap vaccine was developed in 2005 for adolescents and adults which protects against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Whooping Cough).
Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis are all caused by bacteria. Diphtheria and pertussis are spread from person to person. Tetanus enters the body through cuts, scratches, or wounds.
The United States averaged more than 1,300 cases of tetanus and 175,000 cases of diphtheria each year before vaccines. Since vaccines have been available, tetanus cases have fallen by over 96% and diphtheria cases by over 99.9%.
Before 2005, only children younger than 7 years of age could get pertussis vaccine. In 2004 there were more than 8,000 cases of pertussis in the U.S among adolescents and more than 7,000 cases among adults.
The Tdap can be used in three ways:
1) as catch-up for people who did not get all their doses
of DTap or DTP when they were children
2) as a booster every 10 years
3) for protection against tetanus infection after a wound
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends:
Call your doctor to see what is best for you and your family. For more information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
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