Tetanus vaccine protects children and adults against the deadly tetanus disease. The vaccine protects from tetanus and provides immunity against other bacterial infections like diphtheria and whooping cough. Tetanus is a fatal disease caused by harmful toxins released by the bacterium Clostridium tetani once it gets inside the body. This bacterium lives on dead and decaying matter.
Three types of tetanus vaccines are injected into the body of children and adults for attaining immunity against tetanus:
Tdap: It is given to children older than seven years and adults; it provides immunity against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis.
DTaP: It is given to children younger than seven years and provides immunity against all three diseases, i.e., tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis.
DT and Td: This formulation protects against diphtheria and tetanus. Td id is given to adults and older children while DT is given to younger children.
All these vaccines are given in multiple boosters to prevent the infection at different age groups.
Tetanus Shots in Children
The tetanus immunization with DTap is usually recommended in children as it protects from three different diseases – diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis. This vaccine is given to children in a series of five shots at the following groups:
- Two months
- Four months
- Six months
- 14 to 18 months
- 4 to 6 years
DTap vaccine is not given to children after the age of seven. Instead, the Tdap vaccine is suggested after every ten years. The first booster of Tdap is given at the age of 11 or 12 years, and it is similar to DTap as it protects from all three infections. After ten years of Tdap booster child is vaccinated with Td shots. Td protects against tetanus and diphtheria.
Tetanus Shot in Adults
Adults who have completed their primary vaccination can take tetanus boosters every ten years. After the age of 18 to 65 years, the Td vaccine is recommended. If the individual hasn’t received complete tetanus shots, then three doses of Td are recommended. There is a gap of four weeks between two shots, and the last shot is given after six months of the completion of the second shot. Tdap can substitute one Td shot.
Tetanus Shot in Pregnant Women
Tdap vaccine is recommended to all women during their pregnancy. If the pregnant woman has received the Td vaccine in the preceding ten years or more, Td is given in the second or third trimester and followed by a quick Tdap postpartum shot. Women who have never received a tetanus shot are given two shots of Tdap during pregnancy with a gap of four weeks in between them. The third booster is given after 6 – 12 months of the second shot.
How Long Does Tetanus Vaccination Prevent the Infection?
Tetanus does not provide lifelong immunity, and immunity starts decreasing after ten years. As a result, people are often suggested by their doctors that they should get booster shots every decade. However, if a child or an adult gets injured and there is a suspicion that they might have been exposed to tetanus-causing spores, then immediate booster shots are recommended.
How Much Effective are These Vaccines?
Maternal vaccination protects 87% of the neonates from infection. Tdap provides 99%protection from diphtheria and 100% protection from all types of tetanus.
Who Should get These Vaccines?
An adult who wants to be protected from diseases like diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping cough can get this vaccination. Regular boosters are needed throughout life. Children can also get these vaccines if they get exposed to tetanus causing spores.
After how Many Years Tetanus Boosters are Recommended in Adults?
Tetanus boosters recommended after every 10 years in adults.
Can Tdap Vaccine be Given to a Pregnant Woman?
Yes, if the pregnant woman has never been vaccinated with tetanus toxoid, she should be given two vaccine shots with a gap of four weeks, whereas the 2nd shot should be given two weeks before the delivery.