Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis or whooping cough: the three life-threatening bacterial diseases. The question is, how can you protect yourself from these three troubles? The answer is easy: Tdap.
Tdap is a combination vaccine that protects preteens and adults against these three diseases: tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis. Especially pertussis or whooping cough as pertussis is perennial and spreading continuously in the United States compared to the other two diseases. We will explore in this article all you need to know about Tdap: when you should take it, how often you should take it, and how long does a Tdap vaccine last.
What is the Tdap Vaccine?
Tdap is the combination vaccine that stands for tetanus (T), diphtheria (D), and acellular pertussis (aP). Tdap is different from the DTaP vaccine. DTaP is for infants and children younger than 7 years who get the vaccine in five doses. However, Tdap is primarily for adults and children above 7 years old.
Earlier, in the US, tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough were common and fatal diseases. In time, though routine vaccinations discard the danger of tetanus and diphtheria infection, no vaccine for children above 6 years and adults was there to protect against pertussis. Due to this reason, there were outbreaks of whooping cough in several areas.
Finally, in 2005, the Tdap vaccine became available for everyone: preteens, adults, and children above 7. Now, it is successfully providing the best protection against the three diseases. Tdap is an inactive vaccine; it uses dead bacteria. Therefore, it can’t cause any diseases like live bacterias. Before we learn how long a Tdap vaccine lasts, let’s know more about the three diseases Tdap fights.
Tetanus is a non-contagious disease that enters the body through a wound or a cut. These bacterias usually dwell in soil, dust, and fertilizer that affects your brain and nervous system. Tetanus can also cause excruciating muscle spasms or tightening of the jaw muscle. Due to this reason, tetanus gets its popular name, “Lockjaw.”
Diphtheria is a highly contagious disease that can cause difficulty breathing, heart failure, paralysis, and death. The bacteria causing diphtheria usually transmits through respiratory droplets, coughing, sneezing, and in many cases, from contact with open sores or ulcers.
Pertussis or Whooping Cough
Whooping cough or pertussis is a highly contagious bacterial infection that can lead to severe breathing problems, especially in newborns. The bacteria usually attack the respiratory system that initially looks like a common cold. However, the cold and cough soon become intense and uncontrollable, creating the noise “whoop” while breathing after the cough.
Infants are more prone to get affected by the disease than adults. However, they often get the infection from adults. DTaP can protect children against pertussis; however, the protection declines over time. Here comes Tdap maintaining the safety circle of immunity around them.
How Long Does A Tdap Vaccine Last?
Tdap is an effective vaccine against tetanus and diphtheria. However, effective, it’s not totally perfect against pertussis.
Research suggested that Tdap effectively protects everyone against tetanus and diphtheria for 10 years. However, against pertussis, they offer sufficient protection within the first 2 years only. After that, the defense starts to decline gradually.
CDC records that Tdap fully protects about 7 in 10 people in the first year after getting the vaccine. However, Tdap protects about 3 or 4 in 10 people in the fourth year. The effectiveness of the protection declines each year gradually.
On the other hand, Tdap taken during pregnancy can effectively protect more than 3 in 4 babies from getting whooping cough. Thanks to the vaccine, about 9 in 10 babies suffering from whooping cough don’t need serious hospital care due to the protection during pregnancy.
Therefore, keep your vaccination routine up to date if you want to keep yourself and your family safe and protected against these bacteria. Contact MyConciergeMD, to get proper administration and maintenance of your vaccination routine to keep you healthy.
When and How Often Can You Get The Tdap Vaccine?
Doctors usually recommend a Tdap vaccine depending on your age, condition, and vaccination history.
Preteens and Teens
Preteens usually get one shot of Tdap between the age of 11 and 12 years. However, the catch-up vaccination observes the following-
Ages 7-10 years
- Children receiving Tdap at 7 to 9 years need to take routine Tdap at ages 11 to 12
- Children who receive Tdap at the age of 10 don’t need any routine Tdap at 11 to 12.
Age 13-18 years (who haven’t received Tdap)
- 1 dose Tdap
- Then a Td or Tdap booster every 10 years
Ages 7-18 years (who haven’t completed full vaccination with DTaP)
- 1 dose Tdap (the first dose)
- Td or Tdap (if needed)
All adults who never got any vaccine earlier need to take a shot of Tdap. You can take it any time that will follow a Td or Tdap shot every 10 years.
Tdap shot during pregnancy is crucial as it protects the newborn from whooping cough in the first few months. You should get a shot of Tdap during every pregnancy. Usually, the early part of the 3rd trimester is suitable for taking the Tdap shot to provide perfect protection.
Who Should Get Tdap Vaccine?
The CDCTrusted Source usually recommends that every individual aged 18 or older must get a dose of Tdap. Especially those who never received the vaccine.
However, you need a Tdap shot if-
- You are a health care provider who comes in direct contact with patients.
- You are a caregiver of babies under 1-year-old. That includes parents, grandparents, and babysitters.
- If you are pregnant, usually in the third trimester, around 27 to 36 weeks.
- A new mom who hasn’t received the shot during pregnancy
- People who frequently travel, especially to places with pertussis outbreaks
- You don’t remember when was the last time you got the shot
- You have a severe injury or burn and never got a shot earlier to reduce the risk for tetanus.
Who Should Avoid Tdap Vaccine?
Almost anyone can take Tdap Vaccine as the risk of getting any allergic reaction is very low. However, certain people should not get the Tdap vaccine that includes-
- People with a history of severe allergic reaction to any of the vaccine ingredients: tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis
- People in a coma or prolonged, repeated seizures within 7 days of a dose of DTP or DTaP in childhood, or a former dose of Tdap
- Anyone below 7 years old
In addition, consult with your doctor before getting the shot if you have the following-
- Epilepsy, seizure, or any kind of nervous system issue
- If the Tdap vaccine hurts or has severe pain or swelling after any vaccine containing the three: tetanus, diphtheria, or whooping cough
- If you ever had Guillain-Barre syndrome – an autoimmune disorder where your immune system damages the nerves, often causing paralysis
What Are The Side Effects of Tdap Vaccine?
Like every medicine, every vaccine can cause side effects. Tdap vaccine is no different. However, the risk of severe side effects is moderately minimum.
Mild Tdap vaccine sore arm is common. However, other mild to moderate side effects include-
- Mild redness or swelling at the injection site
- Body aches or pain
- Mild Fever
- Nausea, vomiting, stomach ache, or diarrhea
- Swelling of the entire arm where you get the shot
- Swollen glands or rash
However, life-threatening side effects are low; some may face some serious side effects that include-
- Severe swelling or bleeding of the arm
- A high fever (102F or over)
- Temporary nervous system problem
Tdap Take Away
Tdap vaccines are crucial for you as well as your infant to maintain a healthy life. Therefore, be up-to-date with your vaccine routine and take the booster dose if needed to keep you and your loved ones protected.
At MyConciergeMD, the doctors, staff, and technicians are happy to assist you with everything you need to know about the Tdap vaccine: when to take it, who should or shouldn’t take it, and how long does a Tdap vaccine last. Schedule a day with Dr. David Nazarian at My Concierge, MD, to update your vaccine routine to maintain a happy and healthy life.