TETANUS/ DIPHTHERIA VACCINE (TETANUS)

A tetanus vaccine is indicated for active primary immunization and as a booster for the prevention of tetanus and diphtheria as a single dose, and for prevention in wound management.

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The Td vaccine protects against 2 diseases:

  • Tetanus

  • Diphtheria

In early childhood, immunization for tetanus and diphtheria is combined with other vaccines such as pertussis (whooping cough) and polio. These are given as a series of doses. Most children receive these as infants and toddlers. They get a booster dose before they start kindergarten and again in grade 9.

The vaccine can be given to people who are at least 7 years old. Adults who were immunized against tetanus and diphtheria when they were younger should get a booster dose of the Td vaccine every 10 years. This booster dose strengthens or boosts the immune system to give better protection against these diseases. Adults who have not been immunized or do not have a record of prior immunization should also get the vaccine. The vaccine may also be given to people with serious cuts or deep wounds if their last tetanus vaccine was given more than 5 years ago.

If you have a serious cut or wound, including punctures, bites, burns or scrapes, it is recommended that you see your health care provider immediately for treatment. This is especially important if the wound is dirty.

The vaccine is approved by Health Canada and is provided free to those who require it. 

 

ABOUT TETANUS & DIPHTHERIA

Are you protected?

Tetanus, also known as lockjaw, is caused by bacteria mostly found in the soil. When the bacteria enter the skin through a cut or scrape, they produce a poison that can cause painful tightening of muscles all over the body. It is very serious if the breathing muscles are affected. Up to 1 in 5 people who get tetanus may die.

Diphtheria is a serious infection of the nose and throat caused by diphtheria bacteria. The bacteria are spread through the air by people sneezing or coughing or by direct skin-to-skin contact. The disease can result in very severe breathing problems. It can also cause heart failure and paralysis. About 1 in 10 people who get diphtheria may die.

These diseases are now rare in B.C. because of routine childhood immunization programs and booster doses.

 

WHO SHOULD GET THE VACCINE

Are you protected?

Indications and special considerations to get the vaccine:

  • Completion of a primary series in unimmunized or incompletely immunized adults 18 years of age and older.

  • Booster dose every 10 years, over the age of 18 years old.

  • Prophylaxis in wound management.

  • When travel to a developing country is planned more than 5 years after the last dose of Td, it may be prudent to get a booster dose, since some countries may not be able to guarantee the safe administration of a booster dose if required.

 

VACCINATION IS THE ONLY WAY TO PROTECT AGAINST TETANUS & DIPHTHERIA

Let's Get You Covered

  • Many Canadians, especially those who are older or born outside of Canada, do not have protective concentrations of tetanus antitoxin.