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Get protected, get immunized.
This vaccine gets its name from the diseases it protects against: diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (whooping cough).
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.
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:
Tetanus infection is rare because there has been a vaccine since the 1940s. Most people have been immunized against it.
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:
In rare cases, pertussis can lead to seizures, brain injury, and death.
Grade 9 students can get the dTap vaccine in school. Younger children may also get this vaccine if they are at least age 7 years and:
If you’re an adult, you should have this vaccine if:
In Alberta, a dTap vaccine is recommended in every pregnancy. It helps protect your baby during their first few months of life, especially against pertussis. It is best if you get the dTap vaccine when you are between 27 and 32 weeks pregnant. If you’re outside of this time, talk to your healthcare provider because you may also get this vaccine earlier or later in your pregnancy.
If you had your routine immunizations on schedule, you need an extra dose (booster) of dTap at the following times:
If you’re getting immunized for diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis for the first time, you need 3 doses.
If you’re healthy and get all of the recommended doses, the protection is:
It’s important to get booster doses because the protection may weaken over time.
Grade 9 students can get the vaccine in school. Parents and guardians will get information about tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, and the vaccine. If you want your child to get the vaccine in school, you must fill out the consent form and return it to the school.
Children and adults can also get the dTap vaccine at a public health office. If you’re pregnant, you can also get the dTap vaccine at a pharmacy.
If you’re at risk for tetanus after an injury or wound, you can get the dTap vaccine at an urgent care centre, emergency department, doctor’s office, or walk-in clinic.
There can be side effects from the dTap vaccine, but they tend to be mild and go away in a few days. Side effects may include:
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 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.
You may not be able get this vaccine if you:
Check with your doctor or 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.
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.
To see this information online and learn more, visit MyHealth.Alberta.ca/health/pages/conditions.aspx?Hwid=custom.ab_imm_dtap_inst.
For 24/7 nurse advice and general health information call Health Link at 811.
Current as of: July 4, 2022
Author: Provincial Immunization Program, Alberta Health Services
This material is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified health professional. This material is intended for general information only and is provided on an "as is", "where is" basis. Although reasonable efforts were made to confirm the accuracy of the information, Alberta Health Services does not make any representation or warranty, express, implied or statutory, as to the accuracy, reliability, completeness, applicability or fitness for a particular purpose of such information. Alberta Health Services expressly disclaims all liability for the use of these materials, and for any claims, actions, demands or suits arising from such use.