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Tetanus, Diphtheria and Acellular Pertussis (Tdap) Vaccine Booster

Updated: 1 day ago

What is Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis?


  • Also known as DTap or Tdap

  • Tetanus is an infection caused by the bacteria Clostridium tetani, and it enters the body through broken skin. Cases are most often most due to cuts, scrapes and wounds with objects contaminated with this bacteria.

  • Diphtheria  is a bacterial disease spread through respiratory droplets from sneezing or coughing. These droplets can survive on surfaces such as desks or toys for extended periods and cause infections. 

  • Pertussis or whooping cough, is a highly contagious bacterial infection caused by Bordetella pertussis. This infection affects the airways, and the bacteria release toxins that cause swelling and airway damage. Infection occurs through close contact. 


What are the symptoms of Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis?


  • Tetanus symptoms can be severe such as muscle spasms, changes in blood pressure, and jaw cramping. 

  • Diphtheria produces a toxin that causes weakness, sore throat, fever, swollen neck glands.

  • Pertussis symptoms can begin as fever, cough, breathing issues and can lead to rapid coughing, fatigue, vomiting and pneumonia. Sometimes, a seal-like barky cough can occur in babies or infants.


When should you receive the Tetanus, Diphtheria and Acellular Pertussis (Tdap) Vaccine?


  • Currently, Public Health nurses usually give 5 doses of Tdap vaccine to children by the age of 6.

  • Some groups, including health care workers or health care students may require a Tdap booster before 10 years.

  • Alberta Health now covers the cost of the Tdap vaccine in some pharmacies (including Axis Pharmacy Clinic) in the following scenarios:

    • A booster for adults every ten years.

    • For each pregnancy a booster between 27-32 weeks, to protect your baby from whooping cough.

    • If it has been more than 5 years since your last booster, and you have had a recent wound that may put you at risk for tetanus infection.

  • Depending on your previous vaccination history, you may be eligible for a booster shot. Ask Eli or Doug if this vaccine may be right for you!


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