The Tdap vaccine protects against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (whooping cough). All of these are serious, potentially deadly illnesses caused by bacteria.
WHO SHOULD GET THIS VACCINE
Tdap is recommended as a booster to the DTaP vaccine in people ages 11 - 64. It is given by a shot (injection), usually into the arm or thigh.
Tdap vaccine should be given to children between ages 11 or 12. Adults ages 19 to 64 should receive one dose of Tdap instead of the Td vaccine, then have Td boosters every 10 years.
If you had the Td vaccine in the last 10 years, ask your doctor if you also need the Tdap vaccine to protect you against whooping cough.
Because this vaccine protects against pertussis, the following people should make sure they are up to date with their Tdap immunization, regardless of age:
Children and adults who have had a severe cut or burn may need Tdap to protect against tetanus infection.
RISKS AND SIDE EFFECTS
Tdap may cause the following mild side effects, which usually last only a few days:
You should not get the Tdap vaccine if you:
Talk to your health care provider before getting the Tdap vaccine if you or your child:
If you or your child has a moderate or severe illness, you can delay Tdap vaccination until the illness is gone. People with a mild illness can usually still receive the vaccination.
If you cannot take the pertussis vaccine (for example, because of an allergic reaction), you should still receive a vaccine against diphtheria and tetanus (DT for children and Td for adults).
CALL YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER IF:
Tdap is not the same as DTaP. They both protect against the same diseases, but are given at different times. For information on DTaP, see: DTaP immunization.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Recommended immunization schedules for persons aged 0-18 years---United States, 2012. MMWR. 2012;61(5).
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Recommendedadult immunization schedule---United States, 2012. MMWR. 2012;61(4).
Committee on Infectious Diseases. Policy StatementRecommended Childhood and Adolescent Immunization Schedules - United States, 2012. Pediatrics. 2012 Feb;129 (2): 385-386.
Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. Recommended adult immunization schedule: United States, 2012. Ann Intern Med. 2012;156(3):211-217.