Everything Parents Need To Know About The DTaP And Tdap Vaccines

Everything Parents Need To Know About The DTaP And Tdap Vaccines

17 Jun 2022 | 4 min Read

Sayani Basu

Author | 342 Articles

When babies are born, their immune systems are not developed which can put them at greater risk for infections. Therefore, vaccination for babies has become an unavoidable practice. Vaccines reduce your baby’s risk of infection by working with their body’s natural defences and help safely develop immunity to disease.

Both the DTaP and Tdap vaccines protect babies against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough). Tetanus causes painful tightening of muscles throughout the body. It also affects muscles that control breathing. 

Diphtheria is a respiratory disease that can lead to breathing problems, heart failure, and even death. 

Pertussis is caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis and leads to serious coughing episodes that can result in breathing difficulties.

According to medical reports, the rates of tetanus and diphtheria along with pertussis have dropped by 99% and 80% respectively since these vaccines became available. Here’s everything you need to know about these vaccines.

DTaP V/s Tdap Vaccines

DTaP is a vaccine that helps children younger than seven years to develop immunity to diseases like diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis. Tdap has a reduced dose of the diphtheria and pertussis vaccines and is a booster immunisation that is given at the age of 11. It offers continued protection from those diseases for adolescents and adults.

Both the vaccines contain inactivated forms of the toxin produced by the bacteria that cause the three diseases. Inactivated forms of the substance no longer produce disease, but trigger the body to create antibodies that give it immunity against the toxins.

Since immunity wears off over time, doctors recommend that everyone needs a booster shot for tetanus and diphtheria every 10 years after first being immunised. This booster comes in the form of a vaccine called ‘Td’.

However, immunity to pertussis also wears off during childhood. Therefore, a weaker form of the pertussis vaccine has been added to the booster to make the vaccine Tdap.

Doctors recommend that one dose of the Tdap vaccine should be substituted for one dose of the Td vaccine between the ages of 11 and 64. Expecting women are also advised to get the Tdap vaccine, preferably between 27 and 36 weeks’ gestation.

Research suggests that children from the age of seven to 10 who aren’t fully vaccinated against pertussis should get a single dose of the Tdap vaccine. Plus, teens aged from 13 to 18 who haven’t been vaccinated with the Tdap vaccine yet should also get a dose, followed by a booster of tetanus and diphtheria (Td) every 10 years.

Children should receive five doses of the DTaP as per the schedule | Image Source: pexels

When Should Children Be Vaccinated With The DTaP Vaccine?

Children should receive five doses of the DTaP vaccine as per the following schedule:

  • One dose at two months of age
  • One dose at four months of age
  • One dose at six months of age
  • One dose at 15-18 months of age
  • One dose at four-six years of age

Are There Any Children Who Should Not Get DTaP Vaccine?

According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, children who are moderately or severely ill at the time they are scheduled to receive the vaccine should not be vaccinated. They should wait until they recover before getting it.

If a child has a life-threatening allergic reaction after receiving a dose of the vaccine, he/ she should not be given another dose.

If a child has suffered a brain or nervous system disease within seven days of receiving the vaccine, he/ she should not be given another dose.

Children having a negative reaction to the pertussis vaccine in DTaP should not take another dose. However, there is a vaccine called DT that will protect them from diphtheria and tetanus. It is advisable for parents to consult a doctor if their children experiences any of the following reactions:

  • A seizure after a dose of DTaP
  • Non-stop crying for three hours or more after a dose of DTaP
  • Have a fever over 105 F after a dose of DTaP
Expecting women are also advised to get the Tdap vaccine, preferably between 27 and 36 weeks’ gestation. | Image Source: pexels

Like any medicine, vaccines can also have side effects. But the risk of experiencing a serious problem with DTaP or Tdap is extremely small. On the other hand, your child will be at an increased risk of contracting a major illness like diphtheria or pertussis is extremely high without the vaccine. Keeping immunisations up to date will protect your children from a serious illness.

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