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). Two of these (DTaP and DT) are given to children younger than 7 years old, while Tdap and Td are given to older children and adults.
Upper-case letters in these abbreviations denote full-strength doses of diphtheria (D) and tetanus (T) toxoids and pertussis (P) vaccine. Lower-case “d” and “p” denote reduced doses of diphtheria and pertussis used in the adolescent and adult formulations. The “a” in DTaP and Tdap stands for “acellular,” meaning that the pertussis component contains only parts of the pertussis bacteria instead of the whole cell.
What You Need to Know about Diphtheria Vaccines
- Diphtheria Vaccine Basics
- Who Should Not Get these Vaccines
- Possible Reactions to these Vaccines
- Vaccine Safety
Diphtheria Vaccine Resources for Health Care Professionals
- Diphtheria Vaccine Recommendations
- Provider Education
- Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices
- Page last reviewed: January 15, 2016
- Page last updated: January 15, 2016
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