Td Vaccine (Tetanus Diphtheria vaccine): Tetanus (lock jaw) is a disease which is caused by a bacteria which can grow in contaminated wounds. The bacteria can produce a toxin or poison which causes severe muscular spasms. The tetanus bacteria named Clostridium Tetani is a normal inhabitant of soil and animal and human intestines. Thus, dirty wounds are particularly tetanus prone. Universal immunization with tetanus vaccines have virtually wiped out tetanus in the United States. Children who suffer dirty wounds should have particular attention paid to their immunization status. If your child has had three or more DTaP vaccines (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis) or three or more DT (diphtheria, tetanus) vaccines, then your child does not require tetanus immunizations after a dirty wound. The exception to this is if five years or more have elapsed since the last immunization to tetanus in which case a tetanus booster will be required if a dirty wound occurred. Children and adults should receive a tetanus immunization at least every ten years, even if a dirty wound does not occur.

Td Vaccine CDC Information Sheet:  TD VIS

Tdap Vaccine (Tetanus, Diphtheria, a cellular Pertussis vaccine): This vaccine combines the Tetanus diphtheria vaccine described above with the acellular pertussis vaccine described previously. This vaccine helps to boost immunity to pertussis as well as providing immunity to tetanus and diphtheria. Because the immunity of pertussis vaccination wanes over time, it is important to boost it to prevent pertussis infection. Pertussis is the most common diagnosis in a child or an adult who has a cough that lasts longer than three weeks. To combat this declining immunity, this vaccine was developed. It should be given to children age 11 and older on a routine basis.  The ACIP also recommended Tdap for adults (especially parents) who have close contact with infants less than 12 months of age. This vaccine is also designed to take the place of the tetanus diphtheria booster described above. See our immunization schedule for details of when your child should receive it. Also, see the DTaP immunization section above for information on when pregnant women should receive the Tdap immunization.

Tdap Vaccine CDC Information Sheet:  Tdap VIS