Tdap vaccine protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough (pertussis). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends Tdap vaccination for all children beginning at the age of 11 or 12. The CDC recommends Td or Tdap vaccine booster shots throughout adulthood.
One dose of Tdap vaccine is recommended for:
- Children aged 7 to 10 years who did not get all 5 doses of DTaP vaccine.
- Children age 11 to 18 years (preferably at 11 or 12 years of age).
- Pregnant people need the Tdap vaccine during each pregnancy. By getting this vaccine, pregnant people develop immunity to protect their baby against whooping cough, and pass some protection on to the baby. The best time for pregnant people to get the vaccine is as early as possible between 27 and 36 weeks of gestation.
- Adults age 19 years of age and older, especially anyone in close contact with babies less than 12 months of age.
- Healthcare workers who have direct patient contact.
TDap Vaccine protects teens and adults against whooping cough and prevents the spread of this disease to others. It also protects babies from whooping cough if other people around them get the vaccine. Babies have the highest risk of serious illness from whooping cough. Anyone in close contact with a baby, like parents, siblings, child care providers, grandparents, and healthcare workers, should get the Tdap vaccine.
Important things to know:
- Diphtheria and Pertussis are contagious diseases that spread from person to person. Tetanus enters the body through open wounds or cuts.
- Tetanus (T) causes painful muscle stiffening. Tetanus can cause health problems such as difficulty opening the mouth, swallowing, and breathing, as well as death.
- Diphtheria (D) can cause respiratory issues, heart failure, paralysis, or death.
- Pertussis (aP), also known as “whooping cough,” can cause uncontrollable, violent coughing that makes breathing, eating, and drinking difficult. Pertussis can be fatal, especially in infants and young children, causing pneumonia, convulsions, brain damage, and death. It can cause weight loss, loss of bladder control, passing out, and rib fractures in teenagers and adults.
- The Tdap vaccine is different from the (diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis) DTaP vaccine. They both protect against the same three diseases, but they have different dosages and uses. The Tdap and DTaP vaccines both work by exposing the body to a very small amount of inactivated toxins that tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis bacteria produce. This teaches the immune system how to respond to these infections.