Health Information and Tools > Health A-Z >  Diphtheria, Tetanus, Acellular Pertussis (Whooping Cough), Polio (dTap-IPV) Vaccine
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dTap-IPV vaccine


​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Get protected, get immunized.

  • Vaccines make your immune system stronger. They build antibodies to help prevent diseases.
  • Immunization is safe. It's much safer to get immunized than to get these diseases.​​

What is the dTap-IPV vaccine?

This vaccine gets its name from the diseases it protects against: diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), and polio.

What is diphtheria?

Diphtheria is a nose and throat infection caused by bacteria. It spreads by coughing, sneezing, or having close contact with an infected person. It can cause trouble breathing or swallowing, heart failure, and paralysis (not being able to move a part of your body).

One out of 10 people who get diphtheria will die.

What is tetanus?

Tetanus is a bacterial infection that causes uncontrolled movements (spasms) in the muscles of the jaw and other muscles of the body.

Tetanus bacteria are common in dirt, manure (animal stool), and human stool. They can get into the body through a cut on the skin or an animal bite. Tetanus can cause:

  • "lock jaw," where the mouth stays closed and can’t open widely
  • trouble breathing, seizures, and death

Tetanus infection is rare because there has been a vaccine since the 1940s. Most people have been immunized against it.

What is pertussis?

Pertussis is an infection of the airways caused by bacteria. It spreads by coughing, sneezing, or having contact with an infected person. Pertussis can cause:

  • a cough that can last for months
  • problems with eating, drinking, and breathing (especially for babies)
  • pneumonia (a type of lung infection)

In rare cases, pertussis can lead to seizures, brain injury, and death.

What is polio?

Polio is an infection of the nervous system (brain, spinal cord, and nerves) caused by a virus. Most people don’t have symptoms but can still spread the disease. Polio can:

  • lead to paralysis and death
  • spread through infected stool (poop) by getting onto your hands or into your food and water, then into your mouth

Who should get the dTap-IPV vaccine?

Children can get this vaccine as an extra (booster) dose if they are age 4 years and have already had their first 4 doses of a diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, and polio vaccine. Those first 4 doses are called your primary series. Babies get these doses using a vaccine that also protects against other diseases.

You may also get the dTap-IPV vaccine if you’re age 7 years or older and didn’t complete your primary series.

How many doses do I need?

Most children need 1 booster dose of the dTap-IPV vaccine at age 4 years.

Anyone age 7 years and older who hasn’t had all the doses in the primary series will need extra doses of the dTap-IPV vaccine. The number of doses you need depends on your age. Ask your healthcare provider how many doses you need.

Are there other vaccines that protect against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), and polio?

DTap​-IPV-Hib​ protects against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), polio, and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib). Children born before March 1, 2018, who are under age 7 years can get this vaccine as part of their primary series. Children can also get this vaccine as a booster dose when they’re 18 months old.

DTaP-IPV-Hib-HB protects against all of the same diseases as DTaP-IPV-Hib and includes hepatitis B. Children born on or after March 1, 2018, who are under age 2 years can get this vaccine.

How well does the vaccine work?

After the primary series of tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, and polio vaccine and a booster dose of the dTap-IPV vaccine, protection is:

  • almost 100% for diphtheria, tetanus, and polio
  • about 90% for pertussis

It’s important to get booster doses because protection may weaken over time.

Where can I get the dTap-IPV vaccine?

You can get the vaccine at a public health office in your area.

Are there side effects from the dTap-IPV vaccine?

There can be side effects from the dTap-IPV vaccine, but they tend to be mild and go away in a few days. Side effects may include:

  • redness, swelling, bruising, itching, or feeling sore where you had the needle
  • feeling tired or getting upset easily
  • a headache
  • a fever or chills
  • body aches or sore joints
  • not feeling hungry or not wanting to eat (poor appetite)
  • feeling sick to your stomach (nausea), vomiting (throwing up), or loose stool (diarrhea)
  • a rash

It’s important to stay at the clinic for 15 minutes after your vaccine. Some people may have a rare but serious allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. If anaphylaxis happens, you will be get medicine to treat the symptoms.

It’s rare to have a serious side effect after a vaccine. Call Health Link at 811 to report any serious or unusual side effects.

How can I manage side effects?

  • To help with soreness and swelling, put a cool, wet cloth over the area where you had the needle.
  • There is medicine to help with a fever or pain. Check with your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure what medicine or dose to take. Follow the directions on the package.
  • Children under the age of 18 years should not take aspirin (unless your doctor has told you to take it) because it can cause serious health problems if taken within 6 weeks of a vaccine.
  • Some people with health problems, such as a weak immune system, must call their doctor if they get a fever. If you’ve been told to do this, call your doctor even if you think the fever is from the vaccine.

Who should not get the dTap-IPV vaccine?

You may not be able to get this vaccine if you:

  • have an allergy to any part of the vaccine
  • had a severe (serious) or unusual side effect after this vaccine or one like it

Check with your doctor or a public health nurse before you get the vaccine.​

You can still get the vaccine if you have a mild illness, such as a cold or fever. 

I have a fear of needles. How can I prepare for my immunization?


Many adults and children are afraid of needles. You can do many things before, during, and after immunization to be more comfortable. Visit Commitment to Comfort for tips to make immunization a better experience.

More information about immunization

Current as of: July 4, 2022

Author: Provincial Immunization Program, Alberta Health Services