Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis (DTaP/Tdap)

The disease

Diphtheria is a serious disease of the linings of the upper respiratory tract. About one in ten people who get the disease die of its complications. Medication can help treat it but only immunization can prevent it.

Tetanus occurs when wounds are infected with the tetanus bacteria. These organisms make a poison which causes the muscles of the body to go into spasm. “Lockjaw” is a descriptive term for the symptoms of tetanus. Four out of ten people who get tetanus die from it.

Pertussis or “whooping cough” causes severe spasms of cough which interfere with eating, drinking and breathing. The younger a child is, the more serious the disease.

The vaccine

The vaccine we use is a combination one which covers all three of these diseases. We use a new, more purified form of the DPT vaccine (acellular) that has fewer associated side-effects.

Side effects

  • Soreness, redness or swelling at the site of the injection (50%)
  • Mild fever (50%)
  • Allergic reaction (rare)

More information



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