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Immunization protects you from disease.
Get protected, get immunized.
This vaccine gets its name from the diseases it protects against: diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (whooping cough).
Grade 9 students 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’ll help 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 as you may also get it earlier or later in your pregnancy.
If you had your routine immunizations on schedule, you need an extra dose (booster) of dTap:
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, and 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 can also get the dTap vaccine at a public health office.
Adults can get the dTap vaccine at a public health office. If you’re pregnant, you can get the dTap vaccine at a public health office or pharmacy.
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 may also 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:
You can still get the vaccine if you have a mild illness, such as a cold or fever. Always tell your healthcare provider if you have allergies or if you have had a side effect from a vaccine in the past.
Check with your doctor or public health nurse before you get the vaccine.
What is diphtheria?
Diphtheria is a nose and throat infection caused by bacteria. It’s spread by coughing, sneezing, or 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:
Getting tetanus is rare because there has been a vaccine since the 1940s. Most people have been immunized against it.
Go to the tetanus page on MyHealth.Alberta.ca to find out more.
What is pertussis?
Pertussis is an infection of the airways caused by bacteria. Its spread by coughing, sneezing, or contact with an infected person. Pertussis can cause:
In rare cases pertussis can lead to seizures, brain injury, and death.
Go to the pertussis page on MyHealth.Alberta.ca to find out more.
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: Sept 1, 2021
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.