Immunization Recommendations for Disaster Responders
- Tetanus: In accordance with the current CDC guidelines, responders should receive a tetanus booster if they have not been vaccinated for tetanus during the past 10 years. Td (tetanus/diphtheria) or Tdap (tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis) can be used; getting the Tdap formula for one tetanus booster during adulthood is recommended to maintain protection against pertussis. While documentation of vaccination is preferred, it should not be a prerequisite to work.
- Hepatitis B: Hepatitis B vaccine series for persons who will be performing direct patient care or otherwise expected to have contact with bodily fluids.
There is No Indication for the Following Vaccines When Responding to Disasters within the Continental United States
- Hepatitis A vaccine (low probability of exposure). Vaccine will take at least one to two weeks to provide substantial immunity.
- Typhoid vaccine (low probability of exposure).
- Cholera vaccine (low probability of exposure, no licensed cholera vaccine available in the U.S.).
- Meningococcal vaccine (no expectation of increased risk of meningococcal disease among emergency responders).
- Rabies vaccine series (the full series is required for protection). Persons who are exposed to potentially rabid animals should be evaluated and receive standard post-exposure prophylaxis, as clinically appropriate.
If you are responding to a disaster outside of the continental United States, check Traveler’s Health for current vaccine recommendations.
Page last reviewed: January 29, 2019