Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus (DPT) Vaccine

This vaccine is recommended if you are not up-to-date with routine childhood vaccinations.  

One commonly used vaccine called DTaP contains immunising agents against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough). This vaccine is usually given to infants and is not generally given to adolescents, adults or children older than 7 years of age.

Recent studies have suggested that immunity wanes with age, and a DTaP booster vaccination for adolescents 11-12 years old may be necessary to maintain immunity.

Another vaccine called Td protects against tetanus and diphtheria, but not pertussis, and is recommended for everyone every 10 years.

If you are unsure about your or your child's level of protection against tetanus, diphtheria or pertussis, see your health care provider for your personal vaccination records and to determine if any booster shots are required. Some vaccines are immediately effective and can be given just prior to departure.  Other vaccines require multiple doses before they provide protection. Therefore, it is generally advisable to consult your health care provider at least 4 to 5 weeks before you depart.

What are the side effects?

Some of the side effects of DTaP include mild fever, redness, swelling or soreness at the injection site. Other mild symptoms include fussiness, tiredness and sometimes vomiting.

Rare side effects include seizures, high fever, and excessive crying.

What is the dosage schedule?

The primary vaccination in children for DTaP is administered in five doses at the ages of 2, 4, and 6 months, 15-18 months, and 4-6 years.

Periodic booster doses throughout life may be required to maintain an effective level of immunity.