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Facts About...

(Td, Tdap, Td Adsorbed®, Adacel®, Boostrix®)

What is it?

There are different vaccines that protect against diphtheria, pertussis (also known as whooping cough) and tetanus (for more information on these diseases see Facts About for each disease). Your health care provider will decide which vaccine is best to give based on the Ontario Immunization schedule.

Tdap (Adacel®, Boostrix®):

  • protects against diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus all in a single injection.

Td (Td Adsorbed®)

  • protects against tetanus and diphtheria in a single injection.

How effective are the Tdap and Td vaccines?

When Tdap and Td vaccines are given as recommended, 100% of people are protected against tetanus and diphtheria, and 90% of people against pertussis. Immunized people who become ill will have a milder illness than those who are not immunized.

Who should receive the vaccines?

As part of the Ontario Immunization Schedule Tdap is given to:

  • adolescents, routinely at 14 to 16 years of age (ten years after the 4 to 6 year old booster)
  • adults 19 years of age and older who have never received the Tdap vaccine in adolescence are now eligible to receive one lifetime dose of the vaccine
  • all pregnant women who are over 26 weeks gestation should receive one dose of Tdap vaccine if they have not previously received a dose of a pertussis containing vaccine in adulthood
  • parents, grandparents or other adult household contacts of newborns, infants and young children as well as health care workers, teachers, and child care workers are considered priority to receive the vaccine
  • under the Immunization of School Pupils Act* Tdap is required to attend school in Ontario 10 years after the student’s 4 to 6 year old booster

*Parents must contact the Health Department if you object to immunization based on conscious or religious beliefs, or if your child cannot be immunized for medical reasons.

As part of the Ontario Immunization Schedule Td is given to:

  • adults previously immunized with Tdap, and are due for their 10 year booster (typically at age 25, and every 10 years after)
  • people that have had a recent large cut or wound that may have been contaminated with dirt (depends on the nature of the wound and vaccine history, consult with a health care provider)

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
  • fever/chills
  • headache
  • decreased energy

A cold, wet compress to the site and/or acetaminophen can be used to help to relieve pain, swelling and/or fever after vaccination.

Severe allergic reactions after vaccination are very rare and may not be related to the vaccine. However, if you think a serious reaction is developing, seek medical attention right away. Any unusual or significant changes in your health or your child’s health after the immunization should be reported to a doctor and the Health Department.

Who should NOT get the vaccine?

  • Anyone who has had a serious allergic reaction (called anaphylaxis) to a previous dose of any vaccine. Talk to your healthcare provider.
  • Anyone with a high fever or serious infection worse than a cold (wait until feeling better to receive the vaccine).
  • Anyone with a history of Guillain-Barré syndrome occurring within 6 weeks of a previous tetanus dose.

If you have any medical conditions, discuss the vaccine with a healthcare provider to determine if you should receive it.

Your record of protection

After you or your child receives a vaccine, update your immunization record (yellow card). 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