DTaP Vaccine

DTaP is an immunization that helps children under 7 develop immunity to diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, and sometimes other diseases. The most serious side effects include allergic reactions, fevers, seizures, nerve damage, brain damage, and death.

What is DTaP?

DTaP is an immunization against Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis (whooping cough). There are also DTaP vaccines that are combined with immunizations against other diseases, Polio, Hepatitis B, and Hib infections.

Why do we use DTaP instead of DTP?

DTP is an older vaccine that has been replaced with DTaP. There are no DTP vaccines in use in the United States any longer. The difference is that DTP (or “DTwP”) contains whole-cell pertussis, whereas DTaP contains acellular pertussis (the “a” in DTaP). This is because studies found that acellular pertsusis was less likely to cause side effects than whole-cell pertussis.

What are DTaP vaccine names?

How many doses do I need?

Most children get 5 separate doses of DTaP starting when they are 2 months old. Children who can’t be given a vaccine against pertussis may receive the DT vaccine instead of DTaP.

One shot of DTaP is given at each of the following ages:

  • 2 months
  • 4 months
  • 6 months
  • 15-18 months
  • 4-6 years old

Do I need a booster shot?

DTaP is not approved for anyone over 7 years old, but older people still need protection. People between 11 and 64 years old get a booster shot of the Tdap vaccine, which is similar to DTaP.  The difference is that Tdap contains lower doses of vaccines against diphtheria and pertussis. After one shot of Tdap, the Td vaccine booster shot is recommended every 10 years.

What are severe side effects of DTaP?

  • Abscess
  • Allergic reaction
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Anaphylactic shock
  • Apnea in premature infants (breathing stops)
  • Arthritis
  • Bleeding disorder
  • Brachial neuritis
  • Brain inflammation
  • Changes in mental status
  • Collapse or shock-like state
  • Coma
  • Death
  • Decreased consciousness
  • Encephalopathy
  • Epilepsy
  • Extensive swelling that includes joints
  • Febrile seizure (fever-induced seizure)
  • Fever over 103.1°F
  • Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS)
  • Hypotonic-Hyporesponsive Episode (HHE)
  • Infection
  • Intussusception
  • Intestinal damage
  • Jaundice (yellowing of skin and eyes)
  • Meningitis
  • Muscle weakness
  • Nerve damage
  • Paralysis
  • Progressive neurological disorder
  • Seizures
  • Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS)
  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
  • Thrombocytopenia
  • Vasculitis

Does DTaP have a live virus?

No.

Where can I get more information?

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