VACCINE INFORMATION STATEMENT
( Tetanus and
Many Vaccine Information Statements are
available in Spanish and other languages.
What You Need to Know
Hojas de información sobre vacunas están
disponibles en español y en muchos otros
Some people should not get
Why get vaccinated?
Tetanus and diphtheria are very serious diseases. They
• A person who has ever had a life-threatening allergic
are rare in the United States today, but people who do
reaction after a previous dose of any tetanus or
become infected often have severe complications. Td
diphtheria containing vaccine, OR has a severe allergy
vaccine is used to protect adolescents and adults from
to any part of this vaccine, should not get Td vaccine.
both of these diseases.
Tell the person giving the vaccine about any severe
Both tetanus and diphtheria are infections caused by
bacteria. Diphtheria spreads from person to person
• Talk to your doctor if you:
through coughing or sneezing. Tetanus-causing bacteria
- have seizures or another nervous system problem,
enter the body through cuts, scratches, or wounds.
- had severe pain or swelling after any vaccine
TETANUS (Lockjaw) causes painful muscle tightening
containing diphtheria or tetanus,
and stiffness, usually all over the body.
- ever had a condition called Guillain Barré Syndrome
• It can lead to tightening of muscles in the head and
neck so you can’t open your mouth, swallow, or
- aren’t feeling well on the day the shot is scheduled.
sometimes even breathe. Tetanus kills about 1 out of
every 10 people who are infected even after receiving
Risks of a vaccine reaction
the best medical care.
With any medicine, including vaccines, there is a chance
DIPHTHERIA can cause a thick coating to form in the
of side effects. These are usually mild and go away on
back of the throat.
their own. Serious reactions are also possible but are
• It can lead to breathing problems, paralysis, heart
failure, and death.
Most people who get Td vaccine do not have any
Before vaccines, as many as 200,000 cases of diphtheria
problems with it.
and hundreds of cases of tetanus were reported in the
Mild Problems following Td vaccine:
United States each year. Since vaccination began, reports
(Did not interfere with activities)
of cases for both diseases have dropped by about 99%.
• Pain where the shot was given (about 8 people in 10)
• Redness or swelling where the shot was given (about 1
person in 4)
• Mild fever (rare)
Td vaccine can protect adolescents and adults from
• Headache (about 1 person in 4)
tetanus and diphtheria. Td is usually given as a booster
• Tiredness (about 1 person in 4)
dose every 10 years but it can also be given earlier after
Moderate Problems following Td vaccine:
a severe and dirty wound or burn.
(Interfered with activities, but did not require medical
Another vaccine, called Tdap, which protects against
pertussis in addition to tetanus and diphtheria, is
• Fever over 102°F (rare)
sometimes recommended instead of Td vaccine.
Severe Problems following Td vaccine:
Your doctor or the person giving you the vaccine can
(Unable to perform usual activities; required medical
give you more information.
Td may safely be given at the same time as other
• Swelling, severe pain, bleeding and/or redness in the
arm where the shot was given (rare).