The Disease

Tetanus enters the body through cuts in the skin. It can get in through even a tiny pinprick or scratch, but it prefers deep puncture wounds or cuts, like those made by nails or knives. Children can also get tetanus following severe burns, ear infections, tooth infections, or animal bites. Rusty nails are often blamed for causing tetanus, but it is the tetanus bacteria, and not rust, that causes the disease. You can get tetanus from a shiny nail as easily as from a rusty one.


The Immunization

Tetanus vaccine protects children by helping them build immunity to the tetanus toxin. Tetanus vaccine (DTaP) also includes protection against diphtheria and pertussis.

In 2006, a second pertussis vaccine, Tdap, was added to the schedule for adolescents. It is recommended that adolescents receive this vaccine instead of Td. Adults should also receive a dose of Tdap in place of one Td booster.


AAP Vaccine Recommendations


Quick Facts - What You Need to Know (PDF)

  • Why get vaccinated?

  • Who should get DTaP vaccine and when?

  • Some people should not get DTaP vaccine or should waitults

  • What are the risks from DTaP vaccine?

  • What if there is a moderate or severe reaction?


Other Resources


Last Updated: 7/13/2012

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