The Td vaccine is an immunization against diphtheria and tetanus for adults who have had a dose of the Tdap vaccine. Td is a booster shot that is recommended every 10 years.
What are Td vaccine names?
Do I need Td or Tdap?
Do I need a booster shot?
Is the Td booster a live vaccine?
Who should not get the Td vaccine?
What are common side effects?
What are rare side effects?
What are severe side effects of Td?
Does the Td vaccine have thimerosal?
What else is in the Td vaccine?
Where can I get more information?
The Td vaccine is an immunization against the bacterial diseases tetanus and diphtheria for people who are between the ages of 7 and 64 years old. It is given in a single 0.5-mL shot in the upper arm.
Td vaccines have a full-strength dose of tetanus (T) toxoids and a lower-strength dose of diphtheria (d) toxoids.
There are two Td vaccines in the United States. One is named Tenivac® and other is a generic Td vaccine without a brand-name.
Td vaccine (generic) was created by MassBiologics and approved by the FDA in 1967. Merck gained exclusive rights to market it in 2010.
Tenivac is sold by Sanofi Pasteur and it was approved in 2003. Tenivac replaced Decavac®, an older Td vaccine that was approved in 1955 and discontinued in 2012.
Tdap vaccines prevent tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough). Td vaccines prevent tetanus and diphtheria, but not pertussis.
One shot of the Tdap vaccine is recommended for teenagers who are between 11 and 18 years old, preferably at 11 or 12 years old. Adults should still get a dose of Tdap if they did not get it as teenagers. After Tdap, one shot of the Td vaccine is recommended every 10 years.
Yes. You will need a booster shot of the Td vaccine every 10 years. It is approved for adults up to 64 years old.
No. Td is not a live vaccine. Instead, Td vaccines have modified bacterial toxins called toxoids that help the body develop immunity. Toxoids can’t cause diphtheria or tetanus.
Do not get the Td vaccine if you are allergic to any of the ingredients in the vaccine (see below for a list) or if you ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to a previous vaccine against diphtheria or tetanus.
Talk to a doctor if you:
- Are allergic to latex. There is latex in the tip cap on Tenivac, but not on the Td generic vaccine made by MassBiologics.
- Have seizures or another nervous system problem.
- Had severe pain or swelling after a vaccine against diphtheria or tetanus.
- Ever had a condition called Guillain Barré Syndrome (GBS).
- Are feeling sick on the day the shot is scheduled.
The most common side effect of the Td vaccine was pain where the shot was given (80%), redness or swelling (25%), headache (25%), tiredness (25%), mild fever, muscle weakness, and pain in the joints.
Brachial neuritis is a rare side effect of Td vaccines that can cause severe, permanent pain in the shoulder and limited range of motion.
Guillain Barré Syndrome (GBS) occurs in about one in a million doses of the tetanus vaccine and it can cause nerve damage and paralysis.
Td vaccines sometimes trigger severe, life-threatening allergic reactions (e.g. anaphylaxis). The risk is about one in a million doses.
- Allergic reaction
- Brachial neuritis
- Brain damage
- Encephalitis or encephalopathy
- Enlarged lymph nodes
- Fainting and fall injuries
- Febrile seizure (fever-induced seizure)
- Fever over 105ºF
- Guillain Barré Syndrome (GBS)
- Hypersensitivity reactions (Arthus-type)
- Joint pain
- Muscle pain or stiffness
- Nerve damage
- Swelling of the whole arm and joints
There is no thimerosal in Tenivac® Td vaccines, but generic Td vaccines (MassBiologics) do contain trace amounts of thimerosal. Thimerosal is a mercury-based preservative that has been used in some vaccines since the 1920s.
Tenivac®: Aluminum phosphate (0.33 mg aluminum), formaldehyde, modified Mueller-Miller casamino acid medium without beef heart infusion, ammonium sulfate.
Tenivac has a natural rubber latex in the tip cap on pre-filled syringes, which can trigger allergic reactions in people who are allergic to latex.
Td generic (MassBiologics): Aluminum phosphate (not more than 0.53 mg aluminum), formaldehyde (0.02%), thimerosal (less than 0.3 mcg/mercury per dose), modified Mueller’s media which contains bovine extracts, ammonium sulfate.