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Facts About...


What is it?

There are many different vaccines that protect against diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio and Haemophilus influenza B diseases (for more information on diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio and Haemophilus influenza B diseases see Facts About for each disease). Your healthcare provider (i.e., doctor, nurse practitioner, etc.) will decide which vaccine is best to give based on the Ontario Immunization schedule.

DPTP-Hib (e.g., Pediacel®):

  • Protects children against diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio and Hib- all in a single injection (see below for more details).

DPTP (e.g.,Infanrix®-IPV):

  • Protects children against diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, and polio, and can be given to children ages 4-6 years of age.

Tdap-IPV (e.g., Adacel®-IPV, Boostrix®-IPV):

  • Protects children against diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, and polio and since May 2012 is the recommended booster vaccine for children 4-6 years of age (see below for more details).

Hib (e.g., Act-Hib™):

  • Is not routinely given by itself and is in the Pediacel vaccine.

Polio (e.g., IPV):

  • Is usually combined with other vaccines, and protects against poliomyelitis disease. IPV can be given on its own if a person is not fully immunized against poliomyelitis.


  • Protects older children and adults against tetanus, diphtheria and polio diseases

All children in Ontario are required by law to be vaccinated against tetanus, diphtheria, polio and pertussis.

How effective are the vaccines?

When the vaccines are given as part of the recommended schedule:

  • they protect over 97% of children against diphtheria
  • 85-90% of children against pertussis
  • virtually 100% against tetanus
  • 95-100% of children against polio
  • 95-100% of children against serious Hib infections

For people who become ill, vaccination usually results in milder illness than those who are not immunized.

Who should receive the vaccines?

As part of the Ontario Immunization Schedule:

  • DPTP-Hib (Pediacel®) is recommended for all young children aged 2 to 59 months
  • DPTP (e.g.,Infanrix ®-IPV) is recommended for 5 to 6 year old who are unimmunized and need their primary series
  • Tdap-IPV (Adacel®-IPV, Boostrix®-IPV) is the recommended booster for children between 4-6 years old
  • Hib (Act-Hib™) vaccine is typically given with DPTP, to children aged 2 to 59 months. Children 5 years of age and older do not require the Hib vaccine
  • Polio (IPV) vaccine is typically given combined with diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus and/or Hib vaccines, and can be given separate if necessary; for people aged 7 and older, who have not been previously immunized against Polio, a 3 dose series is required. Adults who may be exposed to the polio virus may need a booster dose of polio vaccine
  • Td-Polio is recommended only as a booster dose in children aged 7 years or more and/or adults who have not been previously immunized
  • Adolescents aged 14 to 16 years require an additional booster dose of tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap) vaccine to complete the immunization series (for more information, see Facts About...Tetanus, Diphtheria and Acellular Pertussis Vaccines)

If immunizations have been given outside of the Ontario immunization schedule, your health care provider can assist in deciding a “catch-up” schedule if needed.

The following groups should discuss the benefits and potential risks of the vaccines with a doctor before vaccination:

  • anyone with a bleeding disorder that may cause severe bleeding from a needle
  • pregnant women or breastfeeding mothers
  • persons with immune system problems
  • those with a history of Guillain-Barre´ syndrome occurring within 6 weeks of a previous vaccine
  • anyone with a worsening or unstable neurological disorder (e.g., uncontrolled epilepsy)

Are there side effects from the vaccine?

The most common side effects of the vaccines are:

  • pain, redness, and swelling where the needle was given
  • some experience mild fever, body aches or decreased energy for a day or two after the immunization

If necessary, a cold, wet compress to the site and/or using acetaminophen can help to prevent or relieve pain, swelling and/or fever after vaccination. The benefits of protection against disease significantly outweigh any risk from the vaccine.

Severe allergic reactions after vaccination are rare and may not be caused by the vaccine.

If you think you are having a serious reaction seek medical attention right away. Serious reactions and any changes in your health or your child’s health after vaccination should be reported as soon as possible to your health care provider and the Health Department.

Who should NOT get the vaccine?

  • Anyone who has had an allergic or sever reaction to a previous dose of any vaccine.
  • Anyone who may be pregnant and/or breastfeeding should consult with their health care provider prior to receiving any vaccination
  • People who are sick with a high fever or serious infection worse than a cold, should wait until they feel better to receive the vaccine
  • Those with a history of Guillain-Barre´ syndrome occurring within 6 weeks
  • Any component in a vaccine may be a potential allergen. The most common for are:
    • Infanrix®-IPV - Neomycin, Polymixin
    • Pediacel® - Neomycin, Polymyxin B, Streptomycin, Tetanus toxoid carrier protein
    • Adacel® polio - Neomycin, Polymyxin B, Streptomycin
    • Boostrix®- polio - Neomycin, Polymyxin B
    • Imovax®Polio - Neomycin, Polymyxin B, Streptomycin
    • Td polio Adsorbed - Neomycin, Polymyxin B
    • Act-HIB ® - Tetanus toxoid carrier protein
  • For more information on contents of vaccine refer to the Canadian Immunization Guide Evergreen edition

Don’t forget to update your record of protection.

After you or your child receives a vaccination, update your yellow vaccination record. For children in school or daycare, please call the Health Department to update your child’s immunization records. Keep your records in a safe place!

October, 2015

For more information call
905-668-7711 OR 1-800-841-2729