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Tetanus/Diphtheria (Td) vaccine

​​What is the Td vaccine?

The Td vaccine protects against tetanus and diphtheria. It used to be given to adults who needed this protection because they didn't have their childhood immunizations or because they needed an extra (booster) dose.

Td vaccine is no longer available in Alberta.

Are there other vaccines that protect against tetanus and diphtheria?

The diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis (dTap) vaccine​ protects against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (whooping cough).

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 cannot 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 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.

For more information about immunization​​


Current as of: July 21, 2022

Author: Provincial Immunization Program, Alberta Health Services