Graphic depicting young children, preteens, and adults, all of which need diphtheria vaccines.

This graphicimage icon highlights CDC’s diphtheria vaccination recommendations for young children, preteens, and adults.


Keeping up to date with recommended vaccines is the best way to prevent diphtheria.

In the United States, there are four vaccines used to prevent diphtheria: DTaP, Tdap, DT, and Td. Each of these vaccines prevents diphtheria and tetanus; DTaP and Tdap also help prevent pertussis (whooping cough).

Learn more about diphtheria vaccination, including who should get which vaccine(s).


CDC recommends that close contacts of someone with diphtheria receive antibiotics to prevent them from getting sick. Experts call this prophylaxis. This is important for people with diphtheria infecting the respiratory system (parts of the body involved in breathing) and skin.