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Home > Patient & Family Resources > Health Library > Td (Tetanus, Diphtheria) Vaccine: What You Need to Know
Tetanus and diphtheria are very serious diseases. They are rare in the United States today, but people who do become infected often have severe complications. Td vaccine is used to protect adolescents and adults from both of these diseases.
Both diphtheria and tetanus are infections caused by bacteria. Diphtheria spreads from person to person through secretions from coughing or sneezing. Tetanus-causing bacteria enter the body through cuts, scratches, or wounds.
TETANUS (lockjaw) causes painful muscle tightening and stiffness, usually all over the body.
DIPHTHERIA can cause a thick coating to form in the back of the throat.
Before vaccines, as many as 200,000 cases of diphtheria and hundreds of cases of tetanus were reported in the United States each year. Since vaccination began, reports of cases for both diseases have dropped by about 99%.
Td vaccine can protect adolescents and adults from tetanus and diphtheria. Td is usually given as a booster dose every 10 years, but it can also be given earlier after a severe and dirty wound or burn.
Another vaccine, called Tdap, which protects against pertussis in addition to tetanus and diphtheria, is sometimes recommended instead of Td vaccine.
Your doctor or the person giving you the vaccine can give you more information.
Td may safely be given at the same time as other vaccines.
With any medicine, including vaccines, there is a chance of side effects. These are usually mild and go away on their own. Serious reactions are also possible but are rare.
Most people who get Td vaccine do not have any problems with it.
(Did not interfere with activities)
(Interfered with activities, but did not require medical attention)
(Unable to perform usual activities; required medical attention)
As with any medicine, there is a very remote chance of a vaccine causing a serious injury or death.
The safety of vaccines is always being monitored. For more information, visit: www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety.
Signs of a severe allergic reaction can include hives, swelling of the face and throat, difficulty breathing, a fast heartbeat, dizziness, and weakness. These would usually start a few minutes to a few hours after the vaccination.
VAERS does not give medical advice.
The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) is a federal program that was created to compensate people who may have been injured by certain vaccines.
Persons who believe they may have been injured by a vaccine can learn about the program and about filing a claim by calling 1-800-338-2382 or visiting the VICP website at www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation. There is a time limit to file a claim for compensation.
Vaccine Information Statement
42 U.S.C. § 300aa-26
Department of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Many Vaccine Information Statements are available in Spanish and other languages. See www.immunize.org/vis.
Hojas de información Sobre Vacunas están disponibles en español y en muchos otros idiomas. Visite www.immunize.org/vis.
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