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Diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis (dTap) vaccine

Learn about the dTap vaccine, effectiveness, side effects, and safety.

Diseases it protects from

Who should get this vaccine

Grade 9 students can get the dTap vaccine as part of the school immunization program. Younger children may also get this vaccine if they are at least age 7 years and:

  • They are not up to date with their diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis immunizations.
  • They cut or poke themselves with something dirty.

If you are an adult, you should have this vaccine if:

  • You have never been immunized for diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis.
  • It has been 10 years since your last dose.
  • You cut or poke yourself with something dirty (depending on when your last dose was).
  • You will be in close contact with a baby and you have never had a dose of pertussis vaccine as an adult.
  • You are pregnant (even if it has been less than 10 years since your last dose).


In Alberta, the dTap vaccine is recommended in every pregnancy. It helps protect your baby during the 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 are outside of this time, talk to your healthcare provider because you may also get this vaccine earlier or later in your pregnancy.

Who should not get this vaccine

You may not be able to get this vaccine if:

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

If you have allergies or have had a side effect from this vaccine, check with your doctor or a public health nurse before you get the vaccine.

Although you can get the vaccine if you have a mild illness such as a cold or fever, you should stay home until you are feeling better to prevent spreading your illness to others.


If you had your routine immunizations on schedule, you need an extra dose (booster) of dTap at the following times:

  • in Grade 9 (If your child already had a dose when they were at least age 12 years, they do not need a dose in Grade 9.)
  • every 10 years as an adult
  • during each pregnancy

If you are getting immunized for diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis for the first time, you need 3 doses.

Get the vaccine

Grade 9 students can get the vaccine in school. Parents and guardians will get an information package that includes a consent form. If you want your child to get the vaccine in school, you must complete and sign the consent form and return it according to the instructions provided. Learn more about school immunization.

Children and adults can also get the dTap vaccine at a your local public health or community health centre.

If you are pregnant, you can also get the dTap vaccine at a pharmacy. Some doctor’s offices also give the vaccine.

If you are 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.

Current as of: July 17, 2023
Author: Provincial Immunization Program, Alberta Health Services
Our work takes place on historical and contemporary Indigenous lands, including the territories of Treaty 6, Treaty 7 & Treaty 8 and the homeland of the Métis Nation of Alberta and 8 Métis Settlements. We also acknowledge the many Indigenous communities that have been forged in urban centres across Alberta.